Annandale High School’s
4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003
Informing the Atoms since 1954
Wed., April 28, 2021 Vol. 66 Issue #7
Read about how
this year and all the
traditions that go
along with it.
BY LILLIAN DALRYMPLE
AHS is now offering late buses to all students on Thursdays. No prior sign up is required. This is intended to offer additional academic support after school.
FCPS ramps up capacity
Students offered in-person instruction four days a week as new normal sets in
BY ADAM SHAWISH
Co-Editor in Chief
FCPS and AHS have found success.
The hybrid model has been working
well since the introduction of the plan
on March 2.
“Hybrid learning is a refreshing
change compared to virtual learning. In
elective classes it is definitely awesome
to be back as so much is hands on,”
senior Madison Cruz said. “It is much
easier to learn in person since there
are less distractions. Overall my hybrid
experience has been enjoyable so far.”
Covid-19 vaccinations are increasing
and now anybody 16 years or older
is eligible for the vaccine. Covid regulations
are also becoming less strict,
including a social distancing decrease
from six feet to three feet.
This allowed FCPS to start offering
students who were currently going
into the building in the hybrid model,
to attend in-person learning four days a
week. Students who chose this option,
started attending in-person, four days a
week on April 20.
“I feel seniors being able to attend
in person four days a week is a great
opportunity for the consistency of learning,”
Cruz said. “Seniors have missed
so much over the past year that this
opportunity is something I am looking
Along with the four day in-person
schedule, late busses have also been
offered. Every Thursday afternoon any
student will be able to take the late
busses and no sign up is needed. This
was added because several subject
areas are hosting an after-school help
center each Thursday after school.
“I’m more comfortable with the plan
now than I was originally. A few more
of my students are now attending inperson
all week, which gives me and
my team-teacher more time to work
with them on an individual and focused
basis,” English teacher Sasha Duran
said. “Some of our students sometimes
or ‘ghost’ during
class, so now that
some of those students
are back in
the building, it’s a
lot easier to support
them and get
them ready to pass
our class. There’s
had to adapt with
the hybrid model
the needs of virtual
students. As the
number of in-person students increase,
teaching styles will start to go back to
“At first it was a little awkward,
and it’s still not perfect, but I’m getting
used to splitting my attention between
the screen and my physical classroom.
For the classes where I have more students
in-person, the balance is getting
a lot easier because I might have eight
students in person and ten online, close
to a 50/50 split—for those classes, I feel
staff to our
buildings in a way that is
safe and steady.”
strongly that I need to address both
groups equally,” Duran said. “For the
classes where I have one or two students
in a room and the other 20 plus
online, it’s a little harder. That said,
when we have work time in class, it’s
a lot easier to chat with the students
in person, check on their progress, and
make connections like before the pandemic,
no matter if I have one or eight
students in a
schools will be
returning to five
days a week, inperson
in the fall.
They are trying to
return to a sense
of normalcy as the
majority of students
shown that we can
return our students
and staff to our buildings in a
way that is safe and steady. We are
confident that we can deliver on a fiveday
return for all students in the fall,
knowing that, while we can adapt to
any situation, in-person learning really
is the best option for our students
and staff,” FCPS Superintendent Scott
FCPS second quarter data indicated
that middle and high school grades
have improved overall from the first
quarter data. First quarter data showed
that over 11% of middle and high school
students had an F in two or more classes.
“I think it makes sense because so
many of us will be vaccinated and looking
forward to returning to our regular
activities like clubs and our fundraisers
for prom,” junior Eleanor Lauderdale
said. “I know the performing arts classes
will really benefit from the rehearsal
time. I just hope some protection protocols
will be in place, like an emphasis
on hygiene and recommending if not
requiring masks when inside.”
Many students have grown too comfortable
with the four day week schedule.
The addition of Monday as an asynchronous
day allows many to catch up
on work and have less stress.
“I’ve really liked the 4 day schedule
as it gives kids an extra day to work on
school work so they can feel more comfortable
relaxing on the weekend which
really helps reduce stress,” junior Zack
Returning in the fall will all depend
on the summer. The CDC projects that
Covid cases will likely start to decrease
in the coming months.
“I feel less nervous about it than
when the plan was announced, but I’m
still somewhat nervous. I think I’ll feel
more comfortable with having a classroom
full of students in the fall if the
FDA approves vaccinations for students
younger than 16. I would still hope that
there’s still a mask requirement and a
desk-spacing regulation,” Duran said.
The United States Department
of Agriculture announced that they
will extend free lunches to all students
across the country for the
2021-2022 school year.
For the 2020-21 school year, the
USDA introduced Child Nutrition
Program waivers, in an attempt to
allow counties and schools to fill the
needs of their families. These waivers
are vital in the time of COVID,
as it brings financial struggle to
In March, the USDA announced
that these waivers would only be
available until Sept. 30, which left
many families worried whether they
would be able to provide food for
Now that the USDA has
approved to extend these waivers
to all students for the entire school
year, many families feel relieved.
“USDA answered the call to
help America’s schools and childcare
institutions serve high quality
meals while being responsive to
their local needs as children safely
return to their regular routines,”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
said. “This action also increases the
reimbursement rate to school meal
operators so they can serve healthy
foods to our kids. It’s a win-win for
kids, parents and schools.”
These waivers will allow students
to eat outside of normal meal
time in order to ensure everyone’s
needs are met. This also allows for
curbside pickup of meals that will
last many days for students who are
learning virtually and even for them
to be dropped off to the students’
homes if needed.
The waivers are important during
this time of struggle to help
combat food insecurity. Many families
struggle to provide enough food
for their families to be happy and
“It provides an equal opportunity
to all students regardless of family
income,” junior Zack Pacak said.
“Whatever their situation may be,
they will have an opportunity to get
a lunch that will help them continue
to focus throughout the day.”
These waivers will also help
counties and schools as they are preparing
for the school year. They can
plan for their budget, as well as not
have to rush to get all the forms in
for free and reduced lunch.
As families prepare for the next
school year, providing food will be
less of a worry with this plan.
Graduation ceremony adjusts for Covid
Despite limited attendance and uncertainty, this graduation hopes to promise a memorable time
BY RYAN LAM
Webmaster, Social Media Manager
Caps and gowns glowing bright red
to the crowd within the bleachers, cords
swinging back and forth with the wind
and smiles growing large behind masks
as names are called through the stadium’s
This is the vision for this year’s inperson
graduation ceremony in spite of
the many challenges that have arisen
due to the pandemic.
Following Governor Ralph
Northam’s updated guidance for inperson
graduation ceremonies, indoor
and outdoor social gatherings and public
health and space restrictions, AHS
delivered the official news that a graduation
event would be held for the
seniors on Tues., June 1 at 9 a.m. on
the stadium field.
“While it is not going to look the
same as it did in past years, I am happy
that we are able to offer something,”
said Jeffrey Smith, an English teacher
and member of the graduation committee.
Last year, unfortunately, the class
of 2020 was unable to reconvene at
an in-person ceremony and celebrate
what they had achieved because of the
abrupt end to their final school year in
“When I learned that we were having
a virtual graduation, it wasn’t surprising
as everything had already shut
down,” said Megan Le, a Class of 2020
alumna that now attends the University
of Virginia. “It was something I had
to accept, even though it did hurt knowing
that I never got the chance to say
goodbye to some people.”
A year later with updated logistics
and guidelines, the current seniors welcome
this valuable event with open
“I’m very excited to have an in-person
graduation, especially since my last
year of high school was spent at home,”
senior Haleluya Worku said. “Even
though I’m sad the ceremony won’t be
at Constitution Hall, I’m thankful that
we have this opportunity to celebrate
our success with our friends and family.”
Senior Nadiya Khalif expresses just
as much gratitude.
“Considering the fact that I’m graduating,
I’m more than grateful for any
event that celebrates the accomplishments
of me and my fellow seniors,”
Khalif said. “Although a sense of normalcy
has faded throughout 2020 and
2021, this in-person graduation ceremony
is somewhat of an effort to
regain such normalcy.”
Teachers are equally happy, especially
since a majority of them have
taught some seniors for several years.
“I am so excited for our seniors that
they get to experience graduation inperson,”
Art Teacher Carmen Lucas
said. “This year’s graduating class had
a rough start. I think the in-person
experience will be a great positive to
look back on.”
Despite such excitement, seniors
and teachers must abide by several
restrictions in order to ensure the safest
Each senior, for
example, will only
be issued two tickets
to the ceremony for
their family members
and friends. Without a
now have to be a
part of each senior’s
graduation outfit. “I
don’t think it’ll be much of a problem
for me. I’m fine with wearing a mask,”
Worku said. “The only thing is that
when we accept our diplomas, no one
will see any of our smiles.”
doubt, the policy makes for some hard
decisions and leaves many feeling disappointed.
“I am really bummed about not
being able to bring more than two
guests,” senior Jimmy Le said. “Some of
my friends go to other schools, and they,
as well as my grandparents, are really
important to me. Unfortunately, they
will not be able to see me graduate like
I had always imagined.”
Regardless, many understand and
reiterate the importance of such a precaution.
“While I know the limit on tickets
might upset some students, I understand
that it was done for safety and in
order to allow the whole class the opportunity
to graduate together,” English
teacher Julia Hanneman said.
“We have to remember that
we are still in a pandemic
and need to protect
will many relatives
essential to the running of the ceremony
will also have to do the same.
Even if she cannot volunteer for
the ceremony, for instance, Lucas still
intends on watching it online from a
safe distance and cheering her heart
out when she hears her students’
“As much as I would love to be a
part of [graduation] in a traditional
way, this is a year of backup plans and
improvising,” Lucas said. “I know I’ll be
heartbroken if I miss out on it altogether.
This class of students were all freshmen
my first year at AHS, so this is my
group of kids that I’ve watched grow up
all four years.”
Everything, of course, is not set in
stone for the ceremony. Every Monday,
the graduation committee conferences
about updated conditions and
any possible changes that can be made.
The committee, too, still meets to finalize
plans for how long the ceremony will
actually last and who will speak during
“Our big thing is that we want to
give the senior class the best send-off
that we can, considering the circumstances
and considering that we want
to make sure that we are being safe,”
Smith said. “The most important thing
that we’ve learned from this year is that
we have to be flexible and know how to
change things on the fly if we need to.”
With graduation a little more than a
month away, seniors are encouraged to
stay hopeful and make the most of it.
“Whatever the good happens to be,
cherish it,” said Isabel Pho, a Class
of 2020 alumna that now attends
Brigham Young University. “Don’t let
any negative circumstances tarnish the
value of that good. Let good things be
to take finals
BY FATIMA SAYED ELTAYEB
The best part of the school year
is the end of it. Almost every student
looks forward to the end of the school
year and the beginning of summer
By the time June comes around,
students are done with SOL’s and
teachers ease up on assigning work.
But, one obstacle to all that is final
Final exams typically take place
the last week of school, and the school
days are made into half-days to
accommodate for testing.
Last year, due to the pandemic,
finals were canceled. This year, many
students expected final exams to be
canceled. Unfortunately, they were not.
Many students have expressed their
concerns about taking finals amidst the
pandemic because learning virtually
has been a struggle for students.
Although some students feel
unprepared to take their final exams,
FCPS upgraded their grading policy
for the 2020-2021 school year and has
implemented final exam flexibility.
Now, a final can only serve to
improve a student’s grade for the year
or will otherwise not be counted.
There are no signs of exams being
cancelled, but, on the bright side,
exams won’t make much of an impact
with the new policies.
Some teachers will also be offering
final projects in lieu of final exams
which, while still tedious, are a
welcome substitute to dreaded finals.
France’s ban on hijabs is
outrageous and Islamophobic
BY FATIMA SAYED ELTAYEB
Islamophobia is deeply rooted in
French culture, and it has only gotten
worse as time has gone on.
Muslims first came to France after
they colonized a large portion of North
Africa. Algeria was one of the only
countries that was officially considered
a part of France.
Algerians were free to live in
France, but they were soon faced with
France’s Islamophobic rhetorics
have fueled the hate for Muslim people
all across Europe and other countries
as well. In 2019, Brenton Tarrant
killed 51 Muslims at two New Zealand
He wrote a manifesto in which he
talked about how he heard that France
was being invaded by nonwhites,
so he took a trip to see for himself.
The manifesto was titled “The Great
Replacement,” a reference to the title
of a 2012 book by right-wing French
polemicist Renaud Camus.
France has also been known to turn
away Syrian refugees and other asylum
seekers. They also have been trying to
legalize more Islamophobic legislation.
Recently, the media had turned into
a frenzy after the French Senate voted
to ban hijabs for girls under the age of
18. Many were infuriated at the fact
Wed., April 28, 2021
Stop debating guns, just get rid of them
BY FATIMA SAYED ELTAYEB
Since the world has slowly begun
returning to normal, gun violence has
been at an all time high.
Over the course of the pandemic,
gun violence didn’t disappear nor
decrease. In fact, 2020 had faced a
record high of 610 mass shootings.
The extreme gun violence wasn’t as
talked about due to the fact that the
pandemic had taken over everyone’s
Now that it’s finally coming to an
end, people are starting to draw their
attention back to the gun violence that
Since the start of 2021, there
that the age to consent to sex is now
lower than the age of consent to the
The age to consent to sex in France
is 15 years old.
Muslim American Representative
Ilhan Omar took to social media to
post a video of herself wearing her
hijab and used the viral hashtag
“It’s sad to see
look like me
-- UGASA ALI
The hashtag was created by
American Muslim women to support
the Muslim women in France.
“It’s sad to see people that look like
me being stripped away from their
rights. It is so wrong that they’re trying
to ban hijabs and it shows just how
Islamophobic France is,” junior Ugasa
Ali said. “I can’t imagine not being able
to practice my religion freely, and I’m
grateful to live in a place where I don’t
have to worry about these kinds of
These discriminatory policies allow
have been over 150 mass shootings in
America. There have been at least 45
mass shootings in the month of April
Gun violence in America runs much
deeper than just mass shootings. Mass
shootings gain the most attention from
the media, but unfortunately it’s just
the tip of the iceberg.
Mass shootings make up a mere
1% of all the gun violence that occurs in
On average, over 35,000 people
die every year from gun violence in
According to Everytown Research,
60 percent of these deaths are caused
by suicide, 36 percent are caused by
homicide and police shootings, and
unintentional and undetermined deaths
people around the world to believe that
Islamophobia is acceptable.
France’s secular beliefs are the
main reason Muslim people are being
The French government claims that
they do not favor any one religion and
guarantee their peaceful co-existence in
respect of the laws and principles of the
Clearly, this is not the case.
The Islamophobia in France is
beyond the hijab. The government also
wants to make the halal slaughtering
of chickens illegal. They also are trying
to force halal grocery stores to sell
alcohol and pork and they want to ban
mothers wearing headscarves from
accompanying children on school field
The French government wants to
have control over Muslim people, and
the only way they can do that is by
France needs to stop trying to mask
their incessant Islamophobia with the
separation of church and state. People
constantly say that Muslim countries
enforce the hijab, but the unfortunate
reality is that Western countries are
trying to force women to take it off.
The government needs to stop
policing Muslim women on what they
can or cannot wear. What’s more, other
countries like the U.S. that claim they
support religious freedom must speak
out against France.
are each 1 percent of the gun related
deaths that take place every year.
With the recent mass shootings
in Atlanta, Boulder, Indianapolis
and Evanston, the Biden-Harris
Administration is pushing for Congress
to pass legislation to reduce gun
“Too many people have died
because of gun violence and it’s the
government’s fault because they have
yet to take action and pass gun reform
laws,” junior Niyat Ghiorghis said. “It’s
crazy to think that there are still people
that are trying to justify the use of guns
even though thousands of people are
dying at the hands of them every year.”
The administration has
implemented a few actions to help
lower the deaths that are a direct result
of gun violence. President Biden plans
to nominate David Chapman to serve
as a Director of the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms, which is an
agency that enforces gun laws.
The Justice Department also plans
to issue two rules. One to stop the
proliferation of “ghost guns” which
are firearms assembled with no serial
numbers and the other is to crack down
on stabilizing braces that are used to
turn pistols into a short barreled rifle.
Despite these efforts, no huge
changes can be made unless Congress
pushes for gun reform.
Biden’s plans are a step in the right
direction, but more needs to be done
in order to prevent more deaths from
The U.S. has one of the highest
rates of gun violence compared to other
This should be a sign to the federal
government that there needs to be
major gun reform in the U.S.
Gun violence is preventable, but
lawmakers are refusing to acknowledge
that guns are the reason hundreds of
people are dying everyday.
“Too many people have died and
the federal government has not done
anything about it,” junior Tsion Abate
said. “As a teenager, I shouldn’t have
to be afraid of getting hurt everytime
I leave my house, but I can’t help it
because I see people getting hurt on the
news every single day.”
If the government really wants to
decrease the violence going on, they
need to start pushing for gun reform.
There is no excuse for needing to have
People want to be able to go to the
movie theatre, to school, to FedEx, to
Walmart, to the grocery story without
having to think about getting shot.
Changes need to be made now.
Timeline of Islamophobia in France
HOUSE.GOV DEPARTMENTOFSTATE.GOV DEPARTMENTOFSTATE.GOV USE.GOV
1905: France becomes secular
In 1905, the French government wrote in
a law that separated Church and State.
It is called laïcité. This law is still being
used today, and France has used it as
justification to strip Muslim women from
their right to wearing religious head
1989: Courts reject proposal
to ban hijbas in school
The French government made its first attempt
to ban school girls from wearing religious
headcoverings. It shortly was rejected by the
2004: Secular schools
The law on the “secular character of schools”
was one of the first major exclusions of Islam.
The law prohibited students from wearing any
“conspicuous” religious signs, specifically
hijabs. Yet, prime minister Edouard Balladur,
told France’s Jewish representative body that
the law would not effect students wearing the
March 30, 2021: French
Senate votes to ban hijab
The French Senate voted to ban the hijab for
girls that are under the age of 18. They have
also banned accompanying mothers from
wearing the hijab in schools. The legislation
must go through the national assembly before
A BLAST STAFF
MAKIN’ THE GRADE
CO-EDITORS IN CHIEF
Fatima Sayed Eltayeb
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Annandale High School
Vol 66. Issue No. 7
4700 Medford Dr.
Annandale, VA 22003
The A-Blast is
newspaper that strives
to inform, educate and
entertain the student
body and community.
The A-Blast will not
print any material
that is obscene or
libelous; or that which
the school day, or invades
an individual’s right to
privacy. The A-Blast is an
independent, open forum
for discussion that is
printed at the Springfield
Plant of The Washington
Signed letters to the
editor of 250 words or
less may be emailed to
submitted to room 262 or
mailed to the school. The
A-Blast reserves the right
to refuse advertisements.
All submissions become
property of The A-Blast,
Lock him up and throw away the key
can face up to 40 years in jail for Floyd’s murder.
A16-year-olds and above can get vaccines
Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted last Tuesday
for the murder of George Floyd. Over the summer, protests broke out
after a video of him kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, which
ultimately resulted in his death, spread across the news and internet.
Floyd’s murder triggered the re-examination of racism and police brutality
in the U.S. Chauvin was found guilty of third-degree murder, seconddegree
manslaughter and second-degree unintentional murder. Chauvin
Virginia has expanded on COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to allow for people
who are 16 years old and above can get the vaccine. As of now, the only
vaccine authorized for this age group is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Virginia entered phase two of vaccinations on Sun., April 18. People
looking to get vaccinated can no longer register on the Fairfax County
website. To schedule an appointment, you have to schedule it through
VaccineFinder.org. Younger people becoming eligible for the vaccine will
make returning to school much safer and easier.
Caitlyn Jenner is doing what?
Last Friday, former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner announced that she would
be running to be the Governor of California. She hopes to replace current
governor Gavin Newsom. People are annoyed with Jenner as they argue
that she has no experience in politics and has no business running for
the election. This is similar to how, in 2016, Kanye West announced
that he would be running for president in 2020. Many took to Twitter to
announce that they would not be voting for Jenner considering her lack of
Bryant killed by police
A 16-year-old girl was shot by police in Columbus, Ohio last week within
minutes of the verdict of Derek Chauvin’s case. In the video released by
officials, Ma’Khia Bryant is seen charging at two girls with a knife. The
police shot Bryant four times. The video has led to outrage with many
saying that Bryant didn’t deserve to die, and that the officer shouldn’t have
used lethal force. There have been reports that Bryant was the one who
called the police because she was afraid for her life. There haven’t been any
major updates yet, but an investigation has been launched.
Wed., April 28, 2021 NOTICIAS DESTACADAS 3
APESAR DE LA VACUNA, LA BATALLA
CONTRA COVID-19 CONTINÚA
En la foto que acompaña este articulo, el hombre que es mayor de edad esta siendo vacunado encontra el COVID-19 para un ensayo clinico que pruenbe la seguridiad de injectar vacunas desarrollado por la NIH y
la empresa de biotecnología Moderna es seguro y eficaz. Los resultados impactaran las vidas de muchas personas y ayudaran a combatir esta pandemia.
BY LEON ARCEO
Escritor del personel
En Diciembre de 2020, México fue el
primer país en América Latina en recibir
una vacuna de COVID-19.
Recibido por avión, un embarque de
Pfizer y BioNTech llegó al país.
Las primeras vacunas fueron a
Saltillo, Coahuila para unos trabajadores
México haciendo los primeros pasos,
la vacuna llegaría a Argentina y finalmente
la mayoría de países en América
Después de tres meses desde el primer
embarque de vacunas a América
Latina, millones de personas han recibido
Según Our World Data, Brasil es el
país América Latina que ha administrado
las más vacunas de COVID-19, con
casi 25 millones de dosis.
Aunque siendo el primer país en
América Latina en vacunas de COVID-
19 cada día las situación se pone peor en
A mediados de Diciembre, el gobierno
de Brasil decidió cancelar la ayuda
financiera de 84 euros por mes.
A resultado de esta decisión muchos
brasileños estaban forzados a salir y
Debido a la gran población en Brasil,
muchos de los ciudadanos viven en favelas
que normalmente consiste en 100
mil de los más pobres junto con otros.
Además con la falta de ayuda financiera,
el gobierno no está educando a los
ciudadanos de los extremos de COVID-
19 y formas para mantenerse seguro y
Tristemente, la situación se ve que
no va mejorar, debido a que más de un
millón de brasileños no están regresando
por su segunda vacuna de Sinovac
Según el sitio de noticias Al Jazeera,
Brasil es el segundo país con más
muertes de COVID-19 con más de
Países en América Latina están pasando
el problema de recibir pequeñas
órdenes de la vacuna.
Muchos de los cuales han planeado
recibir millones de dosis, pero con la
subida de nuevos casos y nuevas variantes
de COVID-19 han retrasado la
distribución de vacunas.
“Nadie está recibiendo la vacuna.
Solo los ricos lo están obteniendo,” Mario
Alberto un estudiante en Jalisco dijo.
Alberto vive en un pueblo llamado
Mazamitla, donde el único hospital principal
queda a tres horas de distancia
. Y en ciudades donde sí están recibiendo,
gente está esperando en filas por
horas en el sol.
Según el noticiero AP, un hombre de
84 años murió de un infarto esperando
tres horas por su vacuna en Coahuila,
Vecindarios ricos han visto recibir
sus vacunas rápidamente y sin problema,
aunque siguen rumores que están
pagando por la vacuna.
Además debido a México aprobando
más de seis diferentes marcas de
COVID-19 vacunas, el país ha visto
vecindarios ricos recibiendo la vacuna
Pfizer y vecindarios más pobres recibiendo
vacunas de China.
Humanos de Annandale
¿Por qué elegiste esta profesión?
Reflexioné profundamente sobre mis propias
experiencias educativas como joven en el sistema
de escuelas públicas y reconocí que había
mucho trabajo por hacer y muchos cambios
necesarios. En última instancia, quería ser el
adulto que necesitaba cuando era un niño en
¿Un consejo que le gustaría a los estudiantes que se postulan a universidades
y se preparan para el futuro?
Mucha gente no termina en una carrera basada en su especialidad, o muchas
veces, cambiamos de carrera con mucha facilidad, así que busca lo que realmente
te haga feliz y te apasione y sácale el máximo provecho. ¡Haz lo que sea mejor
¿Cómo ha sido tu trayectoria profesional?
No me comprometí completamente con la educación hasta mi último año de universidad.
Sopesé mis opciones y pude encontrar un puesto de profesor en Las
Vegas y he trabajado en educación desde entonces. Cuando no estoy trabajando
con estudiantes, estoy trabajando con artistas de todo tipo en la comunidad, específicamente
en música y arte.
¿Qué es lo que más espera experimentar aquí?
Conectando con estudiantes del área de mi ciudad natal. La mayor parte de
mi carrera ha sido en Las Vegas, así que estoy muy emocionado de volver a las
raíces de mi ciudad natal y crear un cambio aquí.
¿Qué impactos duraderos quieres dejar en la escuela?
Solo espero que me recuerden como la persona que ayudó a todos los que buscaron
mi guía y apoyo. Estoy aquí para servir y espero hacer el mejor trabajo que
Why is this page translated in Spanish?
This section was created with the intention of expanding our reach as a publication
towards the growing population of Spanish-speaking students. As one of the most
diverse schools in Fairfax County, Spanish has become the second most spoken language
at our school, accompanied with an extensive ESOL (English for Speakers of
Other Languages) program.
The goal of The A-Blast is to inform and entertain the largest possible group of
readers. Las Noticias Destacadas is a collection of articles of relevant news affecting
the hispanic community, written in Spanish. We hope that this section will allow the
A-Blast to be a more inclusive and diverse newspaper.
“Pienso que es inutil que los países
estén usando una gran variedad de vacunas,
porque todos no tienen la misma
eficiencia” senior Mario Benavides dijo.
“A lo largo el país se terminan hiriendo
a sí mismos por no usar las mejores vacunas.
Según AS/COA, las vacunas ofrecidas
al público en países de América
Latina varían en eficacia.
Vacunas hechos en EE. UU. como
Pfizer y Moderna tienen un porcentaje
de eficacia alrededor de 91%. Vacunas
como Sinovax hechos en China tienen
un porcentaje de 51%.
Sin embargo la clase alta de América
Latina también están teniendo dificultad
obteniendo la vacuna.
Políticos, atletas profesionales y
celebridades han estado viajando a
EE.UU. para recibir la vacuna.
Uno de ellos siendo Hernando De
Soto un político postulando para la presidencia
“Es definitivamente comprensivo
porque cualquier latinoamericano desea
viajar a gran distancia para protegerse
de este mortal virus” senior Alejandro
Erazo dijo, “Sin embargo las vacunas
encontradas en EE.UU. son para ciudadanos
americanos, residentes, e inmigrantes
indocumentados en EE.UU.
Erazo tiene familia en Perú donde la
vacuna de COVID-19 ha mostrado una
distribución muy retrasado.
Empezando a administrar vacunas
a inicios de Febrero, Perú todavía solo
está vacunando gente de 60-70 años de
Con los recursos limitados, la gente
está tomando ventaja de este dilema.
En April 21, personas en México
pagaron 1000 dólares por una vacuna
falsa que fue marcada como vacunas
Alrededor de 80 personas tomaron la
vacuna, lo cual no ha reportado heridas.
Aunque, México fue el primer país en
América Latina en recibir vacunas contra
el COVID-19, sólo 2% de la población
han sido completamente vacunados.
El país con más vacunados siendo
Chile con 29% de su población completamente
El Presidente de Chile Sebastián
Piñera ha estado muy activo, ordenado
una cantidad de vacunas más grande
que la población.
Chile ha recibido 10 millones de Pfizer
y 10 millones de Sinovac mientras
Chile solo tiene una población de 19 millones.
Además, el gobierno ha confirmado
que el país recibirá 60 millones de Sinovac
durante tres años.
Argentina es otro país que tiene un
acuerdo de recibir un gran envío de 60
millones de la vacuna rusa, Sputnik V.
“Paises solo deben de recibir un
poquito más que su población y dejar la
vacunas para países que necesitan más
ayuda y más cantidades de la vacuna,”
Viendo los obstáculos que están ocurriendo
en otros países Chile donó 20,000
dosis de Sinovac a Ecuador y Paraguay.
Es importante que en este momento
en tiempo muchos tengan paciencia.
Dejar a los que tengan permiso recibir la
vacuna. Además recibir la dosis requerida.
Usted fue vacunado?
• Se considera que las personas
• dos semanas después de su
segunda dosis en una serie de 2
dosis, como las vacunas Pfizer o
• dos semanas después de una
vacuna de dosis única, como la
vacuna Janssen de Johnson &
• Si no cumple con estos
requisitos, NO está
• Siga tomando todas las
precauciones hasta que esté
Cosas que se pueden
hacer despues de
recibir la vacuna
• Visite el interior de un
hogar o entorno privado sin
máscara con otras personas
completamente vacunadas de
• Visita dentro de un hogar o
entorno privado sin máscara
con un hogar de personas no
vacunadas que no corren riesgo
de contraer una enfermedad
• Viajar a nivel nacional sin una
prueba previa o posterior al
• Viajar a nivel nacional sin
poner en cuarentena después
• Viajar internacionalmente
sin una prueba previa al viaje
según el destino
• Viajar internacionalmente sin
poner en cuarentena después
Cosas que no son
tenga la vacuna
• Visitar el interior, sin máscara,
con personas con mayor riesgo
de enfermedad grave por
• Asiste a reuniones medianas o
The Brief Dive: el podcast de
De la anciedad a la
ira, el nuevo podcast
“The Brief Dive” lo
BY VIVIAN PHAN
Editora del personnel
En las últimas décadas, la discusión
sobre la salud mental, especialmente en
lo que respecta a los adolescentes, se ha
expandido y abierto enormemente.
Hay más recursos disponibles para
aquellos que necesitan ayuda con su
salud mental, ya sea ayuda profesional
o recursos que le permiten conectarse
y hablar con otras personas que pueden
estar pasando por lo mismo.
El estudiante de segundo año de
Annandale, Filimon Meaza, quería
unirse a esta discusión crucial y decidió
comenzar su propio podcast centrado en
la salud mental de los adolescentes llamado
The Brief Dive.
“Comencé este podcast porque
quería encontrar una manera de ayudar
a los adolescentes de secundaria
que necesitan algún tipo de idea de lo
que están pasando emocional y mentalmente”,
Para muchos adolescentes como
Meaza, el tema de la salud mental es un
tema muy prominente y frecuente sobre
el que las personas siempre intentan
“La salud mental es algo que me
apasiona”, dijo Meaza. “Me encanta
expresar mis conocimientos de psicología
y me gustaría compartirlos con
Aunque existen muchos métodos
para formar parte de esta discusión
sobre salud mental, Meaza finalmente
se decidió por crear un podcast.
“Durante estos tiempos de incertidumbre,
encontré que el podcasting era
el mejor medio para compartir mi conocimiento
con otros y ayudar a los adolescentes
como un recurso complementario
mientras todos están en casa”, dijo
CREDITOS DE FOTO A PHILA.GOV
Con su podcast, Meaza espera ayudar
a los oyentes con respecto a su salud
mental y brindarles un espacio para que
comprendan mejor el tema en su conjunto.
“Espero motivar a otros e iluminarlos
con mis palabras y conocimientos”,
“No quiero que nadie de mi edad
pase por la vida confundido por lo que
está pasando mentalmente y espero que
mi podcast ayude a todos a saber que no
Con su búsqueda de este podcast,
Meaza reconoce que no es un terapeuta
o un profesional con licencia en el tema,
pero espera que, además de ayudar a las
personas a comprender la salud mental,
espera animar a los oyentes a buscar
ayuda profesional si es necesario.
“Como no profesional, mi objetivo
es lograr la mayor cantidad posible
de oyentes que necesiten ayuda”, dijo
Meaza. “Para que puedan obtener información
adicional sobre la salud mental
desde la perspectiva de los adolescentes
e influir en ellos para que busquen
Cuando se trata de crear los episodios
de su podcast, Meaza pasa por un
extenso proceso de planificación para
asegurarse de que sus episodios salgan
bien y sean satisfactorios para sus oyentes.
“Creo un esquema de todas mis ideas
de episodios a desarrollar y luego, a
partir de ahí, selecciono los que me gustaría
grabar para el mes”, dijo Meaza.
“Para cada idea que se me ocurre,
planeo un guión y preparo algunas
notas de investigación”.
Luego, Meaza graba, edita y publica
En este momento, Meaza no planea
tener invitados en su podcast, pero espera
hablar y compartir sus ideas como
invitado en otros podcasts en el futuro.
Mientras Meaza continúa creando
episodios para su podcast, tiene varios
objetivos en mente que quiere completar.
“Mi objetivo para este podcast es
ayudar a las personas a convertirse en
la mejor versión de sí mismas y obtener
la mayor cantidad de oyentes posible
con mi conocimiento y experiencia personal”.
Junto con esos objetivos, viene el
mensaje definitivo de Meaza que espera
que los oyentes puedan aprender de
cada episodio de su podcast.
“La salud mental no es un tema fácil
de aclarar”, dijo Meaza. “Me gustaría
facilitar que los adolescentes se abran a
los demás y busquen ayuda”.
Si está interesado en aprender y
escuchar más sobre la salud mental,
The Brief Dive está disponible en Spotify,
la aplicación iHeart Radio y Apple
Podcasts con nuevos episodios todos los
4 NEWS Wed., April 28, 2021
Broadway Desserts A
The annual concert was held
virtually on Fri., April 23. The
event featured performances from
all five AHS choirs. In addition to
group and individual acts, there
were also some audience favorites
from earlier years included.
A recording of the complete
performance can be viewed on the
Annandale High School Choirs
Senior T-Shirt Pick Up
Seniors can pick up their free
T-shirts on Mon., May 3 from noon
to 2 p.m. Those driving to pick up
can receive theirs through their car
windows by driving to Doorway #1
at the front of the school. Walked
can pick up their T-shirts at the
same location. Only those who
filled out the Google Form to place
an order in March are eligible to
receive a T-shirt.
Teacher Appreciation Week is
Mon., May 3 to Fri., May 7. The
PTSA is requesting donations of $5
gift cards, to any establishment of
one’s choice, from now until May 3.
These gift cards will be offered to
teachers as a gesture of support for
all their hard work and flexibility in
this tumultuous year.
The Reading SOL will be held on
Mon., May 10, and the Biology,
Chemistry and Geosystems SOLs
will be held on Mon., May 17.
Previously, the Geometry and
Algebra 2 SOLs were held on Mon.,
April 26. The SOLs are being
held in the school building while
maintaining social distancing
Catch Up Days
Tues., May 11 and Wed., May 12
will serve as catch up days for the
Fourth Quarter. On these days,
classes will be asynchronous to
allow students to complete any
Senior final exams will take place
from Wed., May 19 to Tues., May
25. Underclassmen final exams
will take place from Fri., June 4 to
Thurs., June 10. Following that, the
last day of school will be a two-hour
early release day on Fri., June 11.
Grab and Go Meals
Available to All Students
FCPS is offering free healthy
meals to all students until June
30, 2021. Meals are available at
school sites and along bus routes.
The specific schedule can be found
online. Breakfast and lunch meals
are offered for pickup at the same
time Mondays through Fridays,
excluding holidays. Meals for
Saturday and Sunday are offered
for pickup every Friday.
Students begin getting vaccinated
For many, being
means a new
beginning to come
BY KHADIJA AHMED
Co-Editor in Chief
On April 18, all Virginians ages 16
and older became eligible to receive the
Many students rushed to register
for an appointment as soon as possible,
eager for the chance to be able to finally
do the things they’ve been putting
on hold since the beginning of the pandemic.
“I had to sit there for a while and
refresh the page. I had to make multiple
accounts on Walgreens and Giant,”
senior Anjum Ashraf said. “I am excited
to be vaccinated and see my friends
again and go back to some sense of normalcy.”
Other students got vaccinated earlier,
either because of their status as an
essential worker or because of a health
condition, or both.
“I qualified for a vaccination in January
because I work in person in D.C.
and am in an immunocompromised
state,” senior Zainab Islam said.
Most students will have received
the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine since it’s
been cleared for those ages 16 and older
while Moderna and Johnson and Johnson
have been cleared only for those
ages 18 and older.
Some were nervous about the physical
experience of getting vaccinated.
“I have a low pain tolerance so I was
a bit afraid of getting the shot at first,”
senior and Academics Editor Thonny
Anwar said. “It ended up being nothing.
I turned my head for a second and
it was over.”
Most seem to be in consensus that
the first dose
of the vaccine
comes with some
“I had soreness
and a fever for
two days,” Islam
dose is where
students start to experience more
“I had a really high fever and a
headache that lasted about five days,”
Those who have only received the
first dose so far may be feeling a bit of
anxiety about what’s to come in the second
“I am worried about the pain I will
experience after because I have heard
the second shot is worse,” Anwar said.
However, the CDC states that experiencing
is to be
nothing to worry
about. If these
contact their primary
Those still looking to register to get
vaccinated can scan the QR code to go
to vaccinefinder.org where they can find
clinics, pharmacies, and other locations
offering the vaccine.
The website also allows users to sort
by which vaccine(s) they want to receive
and the search radius can be either 1, 5,
10, 25 or 50 miles.
If vaccine appointments are still not
showing up, it’s a good idea to directly
check the websites of pharmacies like
Walgreens, CVS and Safeway.
Being fully vaccinated carries the
promise of a summer with some semblance
of normal after more than a year
of isolation and virtual instruction.
“The colleges I’m leaning toward
have decided to be fully in person next
semester so unless a strong variant
emerges between now and fall, I feel
pretty safe going to class in person,”
But, before that, seniors are hoping
for one last hurrah.
“I’ll be fully vaccinated by June 1, so
I’m excited for graduation and to have
a good time with all my friends,” Ashraf
Senior and Managing Editor Jamie Hamadeh, senior Eva Gomez, senior Han Le, senior Haleluya Worku, junior and Editorials Editor Fatima Sayed and senior and Co-Editor
in Chief Khadija Ahmed show off their vaccination cards or bandages, having all begun the Covid-19 vaccination process.
Students and staff debate D.C. statehood
BY DAVID SEWALL
D.C. continues to make a push for
statehood. On April 22, the House
of Representatives passed a bill that
would officially grant statehood to the
District of Columbia. The bill passed
with a vote of 216-208, and will now
have to obtain a 60% majority in
the Senate to move forward to the
President and be signed into law.
The push for D.C. to become the
51st state has been discussed before,
however, this is just the second time
the bill has been passed through the
House and will reach the Senate floor.
QR code to
register for an
“D.C. becoming a state would
include addressing racial inequities and
expand voting rights, both of which are
extremely important,” sophomore Ellie
The District currently has an
estimated population of over 700,000
people, more than states like Wyoming
and Vermont. While also paying more
federal taxes than 21 other U.S. states.
This bill would be a huge boost to
the Democratic party moving forward
in National Elections. In the 2020
Presidential election, Democratic
candidate Joe Biden gained over 90% of
the total votes, compared to Republican
nominee Donald Trump’s 5%.
“This shouldn’t be a political debate
in my opinion, D.C. pays money in
taxes, a significant amount more
than some other states, yet they have
no representation in Congress. To
me, that feels like taxation without
representation, and that isn’t fair at
all,” sophomore Kaleia Cook said.
The bill has been heavily criticized
by Republicans, as it passed through
the House of Representatives without
gaining a single Republican vote. A
main concern for conservatives has
been the overwhelming amount of
democratic support in D.C., and that
this will become an automatic two
Senate seats for Democrats in the
The bill was shot down in the Senate
This survey was
launched on Instagram,
and responses were
collected on April 25
to 26. A total of 139
responses were collected
with 70 respondents
saying that they received
at least one dose of the
Covid-19 vaccine and 69
saying that they had not.
in 2020, and will need to overcome
huge odds to pass through this time
around. Due to the filibuster in place,
60 out of 100 votes is required to pass
the legislation, and with a 50-50 tie
in the Senate between Republicans
and Democrats, the bill is unlikely to
pass considering no Republicans in the
House voted for the bill.
“The creation of new states in
America has always been a very
politically charged issue. I believe that
everyone in a country should have
a legitimate and equal vote in their
legislatures,” government teacher
Matthew O’Neill said.
The timeline for the Senate voting
on the bill is unknown.
Wed., April 28, 2021
Where are our seniors going to college?
Q: What college will you be
attending next year?
A: I picked Bridgewater College in
Bridgewater, Virginia because it wasn’t
too far from home and the campus is
nice. I also chose it because I will be
playing soccer there, and I really liked
Q: What college will you be
attending next year?
A: I chose George Mason University
in Fairfax, Virginia because they gave
me a really good scholarship. COVID
was also a big factor in my decision.
With the world being so unpredictable,
I wanted to stay close to home and
Q: What will you major in and
how did you learn more about this
A: I plan to major in Health and
Exercise Science to become a physical
therapist. I learned about Bridgewater
from Annandale alumni who attend
the school. Coach Bagot also graduated
Q: What will you major in and
how did you learn more about this
A: I plan to major in Sociology. I’ve
always known about George Mason
since it’s really close to Annandale, and
I have been on a couple of field trips
there. I also did stalk the school a little
on their website and social media.
Q: What advice do you have for
people applying to college next
A: My advice is make sure you apply to
at least five to ten schools. Keep your
options open and make sure the school
is a place you can enjoy for the next four
years as well as somewhere where you
can further your education.
Q: What advice do you have for
people applying to college next
A: I highly recommend taking a college
prep class like AVID during your senior
year or utilizing Annandale’s career
center. Don’t be afraid to reach out for
help or ask questions, the resources are
there for you.
BY THONNY ANWAR
I have a serious problem with
one of my friends. They seem
to only call me when they need
to copy my school work. Unless
they need answers to homework,
classwork, or even a test, they
never seem to think about me. I
don’t know what to do. I am getting
a bit annoyed with them, but I
don’t want to be mean. I also like to
believe I am a really good student
and it makes me feel bad when I
let people copy me because it feels
dishonest. How do I deal with my
Not a copycat
Dear Not a copycat,
Q: What college will you be
attending next year?
A: I picked Wilson College located in
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania mainly
for athletics, but after visiting the
school, I had realized that it had a
welcoming community and was the
perfect size for me.
Q: What college will you be
attending next year?
A: The school I picked to go to next
year is the Advanced Technology
Institute in Norfolk, Virginia. I chose
this school because it’s one of the best
schools to learn about cars. Also, the
place is located somewhere I love which
is the beach.
Q: What college will you be
attending next year?
A: Next year, I will be attending
Radford University in Radford,
Virginia. I absolutely fell in love with
the campus. The new equipment they
have in their chemistry lab really
pulled me closer to them because I am a
Q: How did you learn more about
A: Due to everything that’s going on
with our planet currently, I plan to
major in Environmental Science. I had
learned more about this school through
talking to the head coach of the baseball
team. He told me everything I needed
Q: What college will you be
attending next year?
A: I picked Northern Virginia
Community College in Annandale,
Virginia in order to help me save
money. I will be transferring to JMU
because they offer an extremely wide
variety of psychology classes that will
help me earn my degree.
Q: How did you learn more about
A: I learned about this school from my
Auto Tech teacher Mr. Maniatakas.
The school also came in to do a
presentation, and I was amazed with
their programs. It’s how I got to learn
about my major which is Automotive
Q: How did you learn more about
A: I plan to major in biochemistry with
a minor in pre-med. I learned more
about Radford through emails and
friends. I started attending open house
meetings on Zoom and talking one on
one with the director of the chemistry
Q: What advice do you have for
people applying to college next
A: Some advice I have for people
applying to school next year is to get all
your requirements complete and have
good grades. Don’t think senior year
doesn’t matter: it’s quite important to
Q: How did you learn more about
A: I plan to major in Psychology for
undergrad but when I get to graduate
school, I will be going for Industrial/
Organizational Psychology. I learned
more about both of these school options
just by doing research and talking to
Q: What advice do you have for
people applying to college next
A: The advice I have for underclassmen
is that you have to take your time on
choosing where to go after high school.
Know what you love to do and stick
Q: What advice do you have for
people applying to college next
A: My advice is don’t pick a school
based off of their name; pick a school
that does very well in your major. Also,
visit the campus if you’re able to so you
can get a feel of what it’s like there.
Q: What advice do you have for
people applying to college next
A: I think the best advice I can give
someone who is applying to college
would be to do a lot of research. Make
sure you don’t rush this decision and
make this decision for you and not
based on what someone else wants.
I’m sorry you’re going through this.
It’s hurtful knowing that one of your
friends is using you and that they don’t
actually want to be a real friend, but I
have an easy solution for you.
Grow a backbone and speak your
mind. Don’t let your friend steal your
hard work and pass it off as their own.
If you really want to be a good student,
then stop them from continuing this
way. It will only hurt them in the long
Don’t think of yourself as being
mean. Remember they are responsible
for their own learning and grades, not
Education is so much more than
memorizing and solving a problem
on a piece of paper. I know it may not
seem like it, but everything we learn in
school is necessary for life. If your friend
doesn’t learn and pay attention now,
they’re going to have to later on in life if
they want to make a living.
By letting them copy you, you
are letting them piggyback off your
hard work. Maybe instead of giving
them answers, you could help them
understand the material. Maybe even
tell them how copying just lowers their
chances for success. If they are really
your friends, they will understand that
you are just trying to help them.
The cycle of copying that you are
helping them create won’t end now. It
will probably continue on when they
go off to college. It’s probably going to
become a character trait of theirs.
Furthermore, by continuing to let
your friends copy, you are putting
yourself at risk. Once you get caught
and lose your teachers’ trust, it will be
hard to restore it.
Also, it’s okay to put yourself first.
It’s also unfair for you to be constantly
helping this person when they’re not
offering you anything in return.
Friendship isn’t transactional, but
it’s a red flag when you’re constantly
doing things for that person and they’re
not there for you when you need them
Stop your friend from copying you
and push them to achieve something
by putting a little effort in. I assure you
they will thank you for helping them
feel more accomplished.
TJ Hutnan takes a swing at IB
BY DANIELA DOSEN
Q: What is your favorite IB subject?
A: My favorite IB subject was definitely TOK
because Mr. Kelly was such a great teacher and
the class was very interesting.
TEST YOUR NOODLE!
Q: What clubs are you in?
A: I’m not currently in any clubs, but I was in
MHS my junior year before COVID hit. It was
pretty fun to attempt the challenging math
problems they had.
Q: What made you decide to do the IB
A: I chose to do the IB diploma because I honestly
wanted a challenge. I wanted to challenge myself
and see what I was able to accomplish in order to
prepare myself for college.
Q: What skills do you
think the IB program
has taught you that can
help you later in life?
A: A major skill I have
learned is to NOT
procrastinate at all. I have
been able to manage my time very well and still
have enough time to hang with my friends
Q: How have your friends and family
supported you this year?
A: My friends and family have been there for me
whenever I need help. They have given me useful
advice on how to approach certain things.
Q: How are you spending your time now
that IB exams are cancelled?
A: I have just been sitting back and chilling. I
haven’t been doing anything at all really.
Q: What colleges have you applied to/plan to
A: I’ve applied and been accepted to Virginia
Tech. I chose Virginia Tech because when I
visited, I had a very memorable time with
some friends there and I really loved the school
Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A: In ten years, I hope to see myself doing a job
I love and enjoy. I also hope I am making major
Hutnan warms up and practices his throwing and
swinging during a baseball green day at AHS.
Q: What lasting impact do you want to
leave on this school?
A: I hope to show the school that any regular
person can put in the effort to achieve many
things and do things they might not expect
themselves to normally do. Basically, open
yourself to new things and embrace them
because you might find something you like out
Q: What advice do you have for future IB
A: All I have to say to future IB candidates is
to space out your work, but make sure you do
it because I know firsthand the stress of the
amount of work that can pile up in only a couple
PHOTO COURTESY OF TJ HUTNAN
1. Principal DeRose is providing everyone in the senior
class with pakora to help celebrate Ramadan. One box
of pakora contains 48. There are 384 students in your
grade. How many boxes of pakora does he need to purchase?
What literary devices are used in the phrases
2. I’m so excited for Eid I could just die.
3. My baby sister is an angel during Ramadan.
4. A grocery store gets a shipment of somosas to sell during
the month of Ramadan. An employee lifts a load of
samosas by pulling the rope of a pulley system. What
force is applied by the employee to lift the samosa load?
6. What month is the ninth one on the Islamic calendar?
7. Who started Ramadan?
8. What is the name of the pre-dawn meal that Muslims
eat during Ramadan?
1) 8; 2) Hyperbole; 3) Metaphor; 4) Muscular; 6) Ramadan; 7) Prophet Muhammad; 8) Suhoor
6 IN-DEPTH Wed., April 28, 2021 Wed., April 28, 2021
GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE... NATURE IS WAITING!
The map features 30 parks with free admission, selected by senior Eva
Gomez, freshman Shane Gomez and their family. They have visited these
places and determined them to be worth the trip. The locations have been
listed in ascending order of distance from Annandale High School.
1. Ossian Hall Park
2. Backlick Park
3. Hidden Oaks Nature Center
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF RACHEL GOMEZ
Senior Eva Gomez and her
brother, freshman Shane Gomez,
take a break after hiking down
by the Potomac River at Turkey
Run Park (#22 on the map). “It
was an adventure! There were a
lot of rocks you had to scramble
over and we even had to jump
over a creek,” Eva Gomez said.
“We got lost, but we managed to
find our way back and that just
made everything more exciting.
There were also a lot of pretty
wildflowers, so I felt like an elf.”
4. Mason District Park
5. Wakefield Forest
6. Holmes Run Stream Valley Park
7. Canterbury Woods Park
8. Rose Lane Park
9. Roundtree Park
10. Green Spring Gardens
Freshman Shane Gomez went to
the National Arboretum (#28 on
the map) with his family for his
birthday. “There is a really wide
variety of different places and
things you can do, all contained
in the park,” Shane Gomez said.
“They have these really cool
pillars I liked because I hadn’t
seen anything like that before.
They’re from the Capitol, so that’s
11. Eakin Park
12. Brookfield Park
13. Lake Accotink Park
14. Long Branch Nature Center & Park
15. Hidden Pond Nature Center
16. South Run Park
17. Huntsman Park
18. Burke Lake Park
19. Jones Point Park
20. Huntley Meadows Park
Senior Eva Gomez discovered her love
for parks through her mother, Rachel
Gomez, who worked at Green Spring
Gardens (#10 on the map). “I’ve gone
there since I was little and I loved
helping out,” Eva Gomez said. “It’s
what got me interested in working at
parks. Now, I want to be a park ranger
when I grow up.” Her mother shares
this sentiment. “Green Spring is a
hidden gem off busy Braddock Road.
It’s peaceful and beautiful with ponds,
hidden gardens and a woodland trail,”
Rachel Gomez said.
21. Bull Run Marina
Scan the QR
code to access
map and get
directions to all
CREATED BY KHADIJA AHMED USING GOOGLE MY MAPS
22. Turkey Run Park
23. National Mall
24. Pohick Bay Regional Park
25. Riverbend Park
26. Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge
27. Mason Neck State Park
28. United States National Arboretum
29. Julie J. Metz Neabsco Creek Wetlands Preserve
30. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Another favorite of the Gomezes
is the Bull Run Marina (#21 on
the map). There are many paths
that contain stunning views. “It
feels very secluded from the
outside world and really special,”
Eva Gomez said. “I recommend
you go during the winter when
the leaves are gone because the
views are spectacular.” For those
interested in history, it is also
located near Manassas National
Battlefield where the Battle of
Bull Run took place.
Cancel your weekend plans, go here instead
Holmes Run Stream Valley Park (#6)
This park features five river crossings, many meandering
paths and a nature center. One particular path contains a lot
of nature, including some very pretty wildflowers. There are
many different grassy areas to sit and take in the scenery.
Also, the main paths are paved, so it’s great for biking. You
might even come across some ducks in the stream.
3437 Charleson St, Annandale, VA 22003
Open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through
Lake Accotink Park (#13)
Lake Acotink has a lake and marina. During the spring
and summer, there is boating available as well as carousel,
mini golf. There are many paths to walk alongside the lake
and take in the water. There are offshoots from the path that
lead to the lake if you want a better view. If you’re lucky, you
may come across geese, herons, and even a bald eagle’s nest.
7500 Accotink Park Rd, Springfield, VA 22150
Open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. everyday
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF ERIK RIVAS
Rose Lane Park (#8)
Rose Lane is a hidden park surrounded by houses in a
neighborhood. It is also bordered by a creek and has two
paths that can go in either direction. If you follow along far
enough, you get to another park called Roundtree Park (#9
on the map). If you take the other path, it leads to a pool.
Although it starts in a residential area, you gradually enter
more of a full forest.
3584 Terrace Dr, Annandale, VA 22003
No hours available
Huntley Meadows Park (#20)
Huntley Meadows has a variety of things to enjoy and
caters to everyone’s interests. It has wetlands and marshes,
boardwalks, forest walks, observation towers, nature centers
and meadows. They offer programs during the day and night
to explore the park more deeply. They have a lot of different
animals like beavers, muskrats, ducks, herons and various
3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, VA 22306
Open from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday
“I like to spend my time
outdoors. I love to ride
my bike, because it’s
fun and makes you feel
“I like hanging out
with my friends, and
it doesn’t really matter
what we’re doing
or where we’re going.
Nature is so beautiful,
and it’s just nice to
enjoy it with them.”
“I like spending my
time outdoors by hanging
out with my friends,
playing football, running
money any chance that
“I like to go outdoors
and basically do anything.
Most of the time,
I’m either playing tennis,
going on runs or
going on walks with my
dogs. It helps clear my
mind a lot.”
“I like to just walk
around my neighborhood
while listening to
music and taking pictures
of the trees. It’s
a great way for me to
“I like going on walks
when the weather is
nice out. It’s really
refreshing to just walk
around my neighborhood
and take in everything
around me while
also getting in some
“I like to play basketball
with my friends whenever
I get the chance. I
have also started to go
hiking since the start
of the pandemic with
my friend Steve Kang.
I would recommend is
Billy Goat Trail for anyone
“I like having picnics
with my friends, especially
because of the
pandemic going on. It’s
one of the only ways I
can safely spend time
with them while social
Enjoy the warm weather with these activities
BY SEREENE DARWIESH
With summer just around the
corner, there are tons of fun outdoor
activities that you can do with family
and friends! It’s important to get out
and be active, so make sure that you’re
taking advantage of the wonderful
outdoors. Another plus is that you’re
much less likely to be infected with
Covid-19 while outdoors rather than
public areas indoors.
This activity is very active and
a great way to bond with your
friends. It’s a very liberating experience
since you’re going as fast as you can
and the wind is hitting your face while
you’re pedaling. It’s great when you are
able to go as far as you want while also
being able to get some exercise in.
It’s something that people of all ages
can do and there’s no restrictions. This
activity is especially great if you are in
a family with children because they are
also able to participate in this activity.
“I really enjoy going biking with
my older sister because we are able
to spend time together and also get
to destinations which would take us
a lot longer to get to with walking,”
sophomore Ruftana Beyene said.
“Sometimes, it’s a little scary to bike on
the main road, but in general I really
Camping is a great way to get
in tune with nature and forget
about all your problems. This is the
ultimate bonding experience since
you’re spending all your time with
whoevers around you.
It’s also a great way to learn new life
skills such as cooking over a fire and
setting up a tent. Bring long socks and
bug spray to protect against ticks.
Camping is an experience like no
other because you’re spending time in
nature, which is hard to do when you
live in a city and spend most of your
Don’t forget to bring ingredients for
the most fun camping experience of
them all: making s’mores!
Having a picnic is a great
alternative to eating at a
restaurant. You are able to customize
your meals and can make it as big
or small as you want. It is also a
great picture opportunity if you are
interested in photography. It’s a
simple but new experience everyone
should try at least once in their lives.
“My friends and I love to have
picnics because food is a great way
to connect with us,” sophomore Maya
Mann said. “Sometimes it can get a little
hot in the summer, but usually we plan
it on days with nice weather.”
Places like Gravelly Point are great
for picnics with a lot of open area so you
can spread out and socially distance
This activity is one of the most
adventurous out of them all!
You are essentially walking towards an
unknown destination and using your
own sense of direction while doing so.
If you’re not into camping, then
this is a great alternative since you are
able to leave whenever you finish the
trail and go back home. This is a great
activity to do with friends and family.
Packing snacks for the hike and
being able to enjoy it at the top after
all that walking is an amazing and
“During the pandemic, my family
and I found a new appreciation for
hiking. It’s a great socially distant
activity, and it’s something that can get
us out of the house,” sophomore Ellie
Davis said. “I love hiking because I’m
able to take my mind off of things and
Food is always a way to bring
your loved ones together, and
a barbecue is the best of both worlds.
You are able to eat delicious food and
simultaneously spend time with your
friends and family. You can also play
sports, such as soccer or volleyball,
since you’re in an open area. Listening
to music and eating delicious food
sounds like the perfect outdoor activity.
Working hard to make your own food
makes it even more delicious once you
finally eat it.
8 PEOPLE Wed., April 28, 2021
From anxiety to
anger, The Brief Dive
covers it all
BY VIVIAN PHAN
In the past few decades, the
discussion of mental health, especially
pertaining to teenagers, has expanded
and opened up greatly.
More resources are becoming
readily available for those who are in
need of assistance with their mental
health, whether it’s professional help
or resources that allow you to connect
and talk with others who may be going
through the same thing.
Annandale sophomore Filimon
Meaza, wanting to join in on this crucial
discussion, decided to start his own
podcast centered around the mental
health of teenagers called The Brief
“I started this podcast because I
wanted to find a way to help high school
teens out there who need some sort of
idea of what they are going through
emotionally and mentally,” Meaza said.
For many teens like Meaza, the topic
of mental health is a very prominent and
prevalent issue that people are always
trying to further educate themselves
“Mental health is something that
I am very passionate about,” Meaza
said. “I love expressing my psychology
knowledge and would like to share that
Although there are many methods
to become a part of this discussion of
mental health, Meaza ultimately settled
upon creating a podcast.
“During these uncertain times I
found podcasting to be the best outlet
to share my knowledge with others and
help teens as a supplementary resource
while everyone is at home,” Meaza said.
With his podcast, Meaza hopes to
help listeners in regards to their mental
health and provide a space for them to
better understand the topic as a whole.
“I hope to motivate others and
enlighten them with my words and
knowledge,” Meaza said
“I don’t want anyone my age to go
through life in confusion of what they
are going through mentally and I hope
that my podcast helps everyone know
that they are not alone.”
With his pursuit of this podcast,
Meaza recognizes that he is not a
licensed therapist or professional on the
topic, but hopes that along with helping
people understand mental health, he
hopes to encourage listeners to pursue
professional help if needed.
“As a non-professional, my goal is to
achieve as many listeners as possible
who need help,” Meaza said. “So that
they can get some supplementary
The Brief Dive: a student’s podcast
insight to teenage perspective mental
health and influence them to reach out
When it comes to creating the
episodes of his podcast, Meaza goes
through an extensive planning process
to make sure his episodes come out well
and are satisfactory for his listeners.
“I create an outline of all of my ideas
of episodes to develop and then from
there select the ones that I would like to
record for the month,” Meaza said
“For each idea I come up with, I plan
out a script and put some research notes
Meaza then records, edits and
publishes the episode.
As of right now, Meaza doesn’t plan
to have any guests on his podcast but
hopes to speak and share his insights as
a guest on other podcasts sometime in
As Meaza continues to create
episodes for his podcast, he has several
goals in mind that he wants to complete.
“My goal for this podcast is to help
people become the best version of
themselves and gain as many listeners
as possible with my knowledge and
Along with those goals, comes
Meaza’s ultimate message that he hopes
listeners can take away from every
single episode of his podcast.
“Mental health is not an easy subject
to shed light on,” Meaza said. “I would
like to make it easier for teenages to
open up to others and seek help.”
If you are interested in learning and
listening more about mental health, The
Brief Dive is available on Spotify, the
iHeart Radio app and Apple Podcasts
with new episodes every Wednesday.
Q & A: Meet Niko, the new College and Career Specialist
Get to know Annandale’s newest staff member, Niko Centeno-Monroy!
Q: How long have you been working
in this field?
A:This is my 8th year in education.
Q:Where did you work previously?
A: I was a Career Coach at NoVA and
prior to that was the College Access
Program Manager for the Fulfillment
Fund Las Vegas.
Q:Why did you choose this
A: I reflected deeply on my own
educational experiences as a young
person in the public school system and
recognized that there was a lot of work to
do and many changes needed. Ultimately,
I wanted to be the adult I needed when I
was a child going through school.
Q: Favorite part about this field of
A: Seeing my students achieve greatness!
Q: One tip you want students who are
applying to colleges and preparing
for the future to know.
A: A lot of people do not end up in a career
based on their major, or many times, we
change careers very easily, so go for what
truly makes you happy and you have a
passion for and make the best of it. Do
what’s best for you!
BY ANDREW NIELDS
Just like any other year, many
students entered their projects into the
science fair with hopes to advance to the
regional fair. However, this year was
This year’s science fair was optional
and it was completely virtual. There
was also no class time dedicated to
working on science fair projects.
My group members and I had to plan
everything outside of class without any
strict deadlines to help guide us.
There were a few challenges that
came from having no time in class to
work on the science fair project in class
Q: What has your career path looked
A: I didn’t fully commit to education until
my senior year of college. I weighed my
options and was able to find a teaching
position in Las Vegas and have worked
in education ever since. When I am not
working with students, I am working
with artists of all kinds in the community,
specifically in music and art.
Q: How did you end up at AHS?
A: I was recruited by our very own Principal
DeRose. And also, passing on the chance to
become an Atom? It was too good to pass up
Q: What are you most looking forward
to experiencing here?
A: Connecting with students from my
hometown area. Most of my career has been
in Las Vegas so I’m really excited to get back
to my hometown roots and create change
Q: How does technology make teaching
more simple or difficult?
A: I think it’s great in that it allows us to
do a lot of neat things in the classroom, as
well as inspire kids to think creatively about
future possibilities. Unfortunately, a lot of
our technology can be really distracting and
easy to fall into the rabbit hole if we aren’t
and us having to present the project
“It was challenging to find a
date to get together and conduct our
experiment, but we pushed through
and persevered,” sophomore Armen
Our group had to decide when we
would get together since we couldn’t do
the experiment in school.
We ended up getting together
over winter break to complete the
experiment part of our project.
The title of our project was “The
Effect of the Ratio of Water and Resin
on the Quality and Time of Which the
Resin Cures.” Resin is a material that
is used in 3d printing. In our project,
Q: What is your proudest moment?
A: As an educator - I had a book banned in
my classroom once and one of my classes
refused to accept the ban so they stopped the
class and every single student wrote letters
of dissent. Personally - I’ve completed two
marathons and have recorded and released a
couple of mixtapes.
Q: What lasting impacts do you want to
leave on the school?
A: I just hope I’m remembered as the
person who helped everyone that sought my
guidance and support. I am here to serve and
hope to do the best job I can.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for
A: I hope the students I serve can recognize
and tap into their limitless potential and
achieve all that they want to. High school can
seem so daunting and it can sometimes feel
like if we don’t get it together now our futures
will be a mess, but what is life if it doesn’t
get a little messy? What matters is how you
let the mess affect you and how you navigate
it. Your lives aren’t over if you don’t have it
together now, it’s only beginning, and you’ll
have plenty of time to sort through the mess.
Be patient, be kind to yourself, and always
we mixed resin and water and shined a
laser on to the mixture to see how fast
the mixture would harden.
After completing our experiment
and collecting all of our data, we weren’t
given any other instructions about the
next step in the science fair process until
a month later when our teacher told us
that we had to submit a Youtube video
about our experiment to be entered into
the fair. Our group got to work on the
video a day later.
We all worked together and made
a slideshow presentation that included
our projects title, hypothesis, procedure,
materials, qualitative and quantitative
data and our conclusion.
We then recorded ourselves speaking
Q: What is one thing most people don’t know about
A: I went on tour to SXSW once.
Q: Anything else you’d like the Annandale community
to know about you?
A: I’m really looking forward to my future at Annandale!
Come meet and find me in the Career Center!
Centeno-Monroy, a Virginia native has spent time in
Las Vegas as well as New York
Students reflect on this year’s virtual science fair
over our slideshow and then uploaded
the video to Youtube.
“Completing the project wasn’t too
hard because I had two good partners
and we divided the work evenly,”
sophomore Chelsi Lilli said. “The work
wasn’t tedious because it was fun.”
After submitting this video, our
group waited to see if we would advance
to the regional fair. Around three weeks
after we submitted the video, we got an
email saying that our project advanced
to the regional fair.
We were allowed to make minor
changes to our project before we would
partake in the regional science fair.
On March 20 from 8-10 a.m, All
group members were put in a virtual
room where judges would come in and
ask us questions about our project. We
all had to keep our cameras on and
dress in formal attire for the judging.
“The regional science fair was nerve
racking yet interesting,” Boghosian said.
After the regional judging, we all
waited to see where we placed. Around
two weeks later, all group members
got a letter in the mail and we found
out that we placed third in the regional
science fair under the chemistry section.
“The process of completing the
project was cool because we did a topic
that I’ve never worked with before and
I learned a lot through our project,” Lilli
Where were you born?
WHO AM I?
For me, success is defined by being happy
and doing what I want in my life, and I want
to do so much. I really want to travel, get out
of Virginia and see the world. There’s just
so much I haven’t experienced and I think
it’s fascinating to see how people in other
cultures live. I want to know people.
Most people know that I am heavily
involved with the school’s theatre
department. I have been performing since
before I could talk and I always wanted to be
a singer until middle school. In sixth grade I
auditioned for the school play. I didn’t know
what it was about or even anyone in the
room, that didn’t matter to me. I just wanted
to be a part of something. I instantly fell in
love with it.
The sense of community, being on the
stage, memorizing lines; it was all exciting.
So I obviously auditioned for the spring
musical too, little did I know that theatre
would go on to change my life in so many
ways. Theatre brought me more than just
something that I’m passionate about, it
helped me find some of the most incredible
friends, people that I want in my life forever.
I never knew how much people could mean to
me until then.
Though there tends to be drama, we all
love each other in the end and we suffer
through the long hours of rehearsals together.
I quickly realized theatre was more to me
than just a hobby. Over the last few years I’ve
thought about many things I could go to school
for and pursue as a career, I just couldn’t get
theatre out of my mind. I have this feeling it’s
what I need to do, so I am. I have continued
theatre throughout the pandemic and now I
am looking into colleges with musical theatre
programs to audition for.
The goal is to eventually be on Broadway
but as long as I am somewhat successful that’s
all that matters to me. I’ll just be happy to do
what I love.
What highschool did you go to?
Annandale High School
What colleges/universities have you
Christopher Newport University
What are some of your favorite movie/book/
The Big Bang Theory, Parks & Rec, 10 Things I
Hate About You, Jumanji (basically any form of
What extracurriculars did you participate
in growing up?
Swimming and Marching Band
Any fun fact:
I recently started doing CrossFit
What is your favorite season?
What’s your biggest fear?
Not being successful
Why did you decide to teach?
The teachers I had in high school didn’t
necessarily make the classroom a comfortable
experience for me, so I wanted to change that.
Use a QR
Who Am I?
Wed., April 28, 2021
in a different light
Muslim students reflect on the changes to
their annual celebration and overall health
Junior Blen Hailu holds up a MeToo sign in support of the #MeToo movement and the men and women who share their experiences with sexual
abuse and assault.
The history behind Sexual
Assault Awareness Month
BY BLEN HAILU
April 2021 officially marks the
20th anniversary of Sexual Assault
Awareness and Prevention Month.
The goal for this month is more
than just bringing awareness to the
prevalence of sexual violence, but its
about preventing assault to begin with,
which is a community-wide effort.
“Although this month is focused
on raising awareness, we should
continue to seek the elimination of
sexual violence throughout the year to
guarantee prevention,” sophmore Fatu
Sexual assault is a destructive abuse
of power, one that ruins the lives of
people of every age, gender, and race.
In 2006, Tarana Burke founded the
MeToo movement and began using
her platform to raise awareness on the
severity of sexual abuse and assault in
She coined the term “Me Too” to
provide support to women who had
been abused and developed the hashtag
#MeToo in response to the sexual abuse
allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
The movement was popularized
even more following the accusations
against him from actress Alyssa
Burke also brings up the similarities
between the Black Lives Matter and Me
Too movements, mentioning that they
both revolve around fighting injustice
and an oppressive system.
She notes that similar to how the
deaths of Black men in police custody
garner more attention, survivors of
sexual assault who are Black women
and women of color are not paid as
much attention to.
According to Burke, being a Black
woman means having to deal with
excessive force, the possibility of being
killed by the police, and being sexually
harassed or assaulted by the police.
This overlap of issues is known as
“intersectionality,” a term created by
Kimberlé Crenshaw, that refers to
when multiple forms of oppression
affect an individual at one time.
However, advocating for sexual
assault prevention dates all the way
“I don’t believe
anyone male or
problem at hand
their stories aren’t valid enough
to be shared. It’s the sad truth.”
back to the 1940s and civil rights era,
which made way for the prevention
process. Although individuals were
limited in discussion about the reality
behind sexual assault, activists began
fighting for equal rights then as well.
Black women and women of
color originally led the movement, a
prime example being advocate Rosa
Parks, who fought for social change,
particularly racial and gender equality.
Although, considering this
movement began in the civil rights era,
there was practically a division between
women, making it so that there were
separate movements as opposed to one
united front. This was a result of white
women (including survivors) originally
being at the forefront of the movement,
which prevented survivors who were
Black women and women of color from
being taken seriously.
“I don’t believe anyone male or
female should disregard the problem
at hand because survivors might feel
their stories aren’t valid enough to be
shared. It’s the sad truth,” junior Hana
Every 73 seconds, an American
is sexually assaulted. About 70
sexual assault survivors (women)
commit suicide every day in the US.
1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have
experienced sexual violence, yet only 5
out of every 1,000 perpetrators will be
“We are responsible to stand up and
educate those around us,” junior Alicia
Education is key to sexual
prevention, starting by educating
our community. An important step
while initiating action includes
student activism. The following steps
can increase community change:
beginning discussions with your friends/
classmates, sharing social media
content of stories posted, and last but
not least, both modeling and promoting
bystander intervention skills.
Overall, to ultimately prevent sexual
assault we must take it upon ourselves
by educating others to promote
PHOTO COURTESY OF BLEN HAILU
“I’m a bit educated
on the issue but
don’t keep up a lot.
Sometimes I’ll see
stuff on social though
media and read into
“I would say I am
informed about this
topic to a degreee
media played a role
in my understanding
BY SEREENE DARWIESH
As Ramadan takes place, most Muslims, such as myself,
around the world take part in a daily fast. Who is exempt
from fasting? Pregnant/breastfeeding women, anyone with a
medical condition, the elderly, and women on their menstrual
Ramadan is a time where Muslims are obligated to fast
during this holy month from sunrise to sunset. We also
strengthen our relationship with God by reading the Quran
(our holy book) and praying five times a day.
“I have never fasted but I find it very interesting how
determined Muslims are and the amount of self-control they
have during the month. I admire my friends that are able to
observe Ramadan and I think it has a great meaning behind
it,” sophomore Ruftana Beyene said.
“It takes a lot of courage and determination to get through
the entire month without eating or drinking water during the
day and that’s why I look up to my friends who are able to fast
throughout the entire thing.”
The idea of fasting is generally an act of worship to our
creator. Not only do we put ourselves in the place of the less
fortunate when fasting, but we also fulfill one of our five pillars
Since we are unable to eat all day, many Muslims wake up
before sunrise to eat a meal that will sustain them for the day,
which is called suhoor. At sunset, Muslims traditionally break
their fast with a date because it is a sacred food in Islam.
“I fast every Ramadan and as I’ve gotten older it has
become much easier, but I have some days where it’s hard
to get through the entire thing,” freshman Susana Aburish
said. “The overall result is very important to me because I
love being able to spend time with my family throughout this
month and getting closer to my faith.”
A common assumption made is that fasting is bad for your
health, but studies have proved this wrong. For starters, it
protects you from inflammation, which could potentially cause
heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
Another health benefit of fasting is stabilizing or improving
cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Adjusting your diet
is the number one way to avoid heart disease, which is the
leading cause of death at a whopping 31% global death rate.
A study was done where 110 obese adults fasted for three
weeks, and the results were a significant decrease in their
blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
“This year, fasting has been a lot easier for me and I’m able
to do my daily tasks such as going to the gym and completing
the school day without any hardship,” junior Hana Wasuge
“Sometimes it does get a little hard without water and can
cause minor headaches but overall it’s not as hard as I thought
it would be.”
As for mental health, fasting can also prevent neuro
disorders. A study on mice was performed to see the effect it
had on their overall mental and physical health. The results
showed that it improved their brain function and balanced it
with their physical health.
Some scientists have even said that fasting has future
benefits such as eliminating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
An aspect not commonly discussed regarding fasting is
those doing it with mental illnesses. There is no doubt that
whatever you do affects your mental health, especially those
battling depression and anxiety. However, fasting has shown
very promising and positive effects on mental health.
Throughout Ramadan, there is a heavy emphasis on
charity and abstaining from bad habits such as cursing and
showing anger towards others. Charity does not necessarily
equate to donating money, it can also include cooking for those
in need and helping someone through hardship.
As a result of performing these charitable acts, humans
receive something called endorphins, which is a “feel-good”
brain chemical that enters the brain when completing a
charitable act. This also helps fight loneliness and isolation
since you are actively helping those around you.
Overall, Ramadan is a chance for Muslims to reset
themselves and those around them spiritually, physically, and
BY MARAM IBRAHIM
Samosas are a popular dish eaten in
Southasian and African cuisine, typically during
the holy month of Ramadan. They are made
with dough and filled with meat or potatoes with
Considering samosas are typically oily, an
alternative is air frying or baking them. The
use of vegetables also helps to make the dish
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 potatoes, medium to large sized
2 tablespoons vegetables
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
YIELDS: 16 SERVINGS
PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 40 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES
Bring a pot of water to a roiling boil on a
high heat. While that boils, quarter the potatoes.
Once the water has boiled, turn the heat
down to medium, add the potatoes, and cover
with a lid. Cook the potatoes for 20-25 minutes
until a fork inserted goes in smoothly and comes
Add the flour, salt, oil to a mixing bowl and mix
using a fork. Afterward, add water and knead
into a ball. Add 1/4 cup of water at a time until
the dough transforms into a neat ball. Dab the rolled
dough with a bit of oil, and set aside for at least 15-20
minutes so the dough can rest while the potatoes are
Begin preparing the samosa filling by draining
the water from the boiled potatoes, removing
the peels, and mashing the potatoes with
a spatula or masher. Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
to a medium skillet and turn the stove to medium
heat. Add in the mashed potatoes, salt, pepper, tumeric,
and red chili powder. Stir the spices to evenly coat
the potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure to
taste and adjust as necessary. Lastly, add peas and
stir them into the mix for about 30-45 seconds. Turn
off the heat, add a few sprigs of cilantro, and then
transfer to a bowl and set it aside.
Take the kneaded dough and roll it into a long
cylinder. Use a knife to portion the cylinder
into 8-9 smaller pieces, and roll one at a time into a
smooth ball. Dust the ball with some flour, and using
a rolling pin, roll it into a circular shape. Slice the
dough diagonally to get semi-circular pieces, and wet
the straight edge with a bit of water. Form a cone,
making the top wider and open to stuff the filling. Add
2 heaped teaspoons of filling and push it in to evenly
fill out the cone.
This picture represents how the samosas should look after they
are finished cooking.
BY INSAF BOUZANA
Rice pudding is also a common dish eaten during
the month of Ramadan. It is made from rice
mixed with milk and other ingredients, including
cinnamon and raisins. The traditional dessert
can be made healtheir by removing the dairy and
replacing it with bananas and rice milk, ensuring
a creamy taste. If the dairy is still desired, but just
a reduced amount, using soy milk and maple syrup
is a good alternative. Along with that, using brown
rice instead of white rice will make the dessert
healthier as well. Another way to make this dessert
healthier is to include fruits or nuts on top.
1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups plus 1 tablespoon gluten-free vanilla rice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
YIELDS: 8 SERVINGS
PREP TIME: 2 HOURS AND 30 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 1 HOUR
TOTAL TIME: 3 HOURS 30 MINUTES
Combine the rice, water, and salt into a medium
saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the
heat to low, cover and cook until the liquid is fully
absorbed, which will take about 45 to 50 minutes.
in 3 cups of rice milk, brown sugar,
and 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon and bring
to a lively simmer. Cook the ingredients,
stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir the
cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon of rice milk
into a small bowl until it becomes smooth;
add to the pudding. Afterward, continue
cooking, while making sure to stire often,
until the mixture reaches a consistency of
porridge. This will take about 10 minutes,
and once this is done, remove it from the
Follow up the previous step by
mashing two bananas into a small
bowl. Stir these mashed bananas and vanilla
into the pudding mixture. Once this is done,
transfer the ingredients into a large bowl,
place plastic wrap directly onto the surface,
and refrigerate until the puddng is cold,
which typically takes at least 2 hours.
The final step is include toppings for
the rice pudding. Before the dessert is
served, slice the remaining two bananas.
Make sure to top each serving with a few
slices of banana and sprinkle the top with
cinnamon as well.
Here is the finished product, topped with bananas
10 SPORTS Wed., April 28, 2021
Star class of 2021 athletes commit to college
BY ANDREW NIELDS AND ALEX
Staff Writer, Sports Editor
As the final athletic season of the
year is underway with the start of
spring sports, many seniors are making
final decisions on where to continue
Across all Atoms sports, there are
many athletes who have been recruited
to continue playing their sport for
the next four years at various academic
Making a commitment to a college
is a huge deal. There are a lot of factors
that go into choosing where to pursue
commitment such as location, tuition,
competitiveness, and campus life.
“Virginia State was one of my dream
schools growing up so I always wanted
to go there. The fact that it was an
HBCU encouraged me to go,” senior
Prince Agyeman said.
Agyeman was the starting running
back for the atoms varsity football team.
He received first team All-District and
first team All-Region for his performance
Virginia State University is an
NCAA Division II school. The school is
also an HBCU, which stands for historically
black colleges and universities.
“I’m looking forward to meeting my
new team and the new environment,”
As the school year comes to an end,
the seniors can reflect on all of the memories
that they have made throughout
their high school career.
“I will miss playing with the kids I
grew up with my whole life. It’s crazy
how your friends from little league and
elementary school are your teammates
in high school. Watching them get better
and grow over time is fun to watch,”
senior Danny Salisbury said.
Salisbury plays football, baseball,
and basketball at the varsity level, but
ultimately decided to commit to Marymount
University to play baseball.
Marymount is a NCAA Division III
“My dad has always loved watching
me play. Marymount is right down
the street and he can come whenever he
wants to watch me play,” Salisbury said.
Many athletes who have played
at Annandale have enjoyed the Atom
atmosphere and culture.
“The most I will miss about high
school is playing on Friday nights, the
atmosphere is just great. I’ll miss that,”
senior Orlando Torres said.
Torres committed to Wilson College,
a private college in Pennsylvania, to
play baseball. Wilson college is a NCAA
Division III school.
While in high school, these seniors
had to do a lot when it came to the
recruiting process. The recruiting process
is a long process, where student
athletes try to do whatever they can to
get noticed by scouts and coaches.
“My recruitment process started
freshman year when I attended ID clinics.
During sophomore year, I communicated
with coaches. I communicated
through email with the Ferrum coach
and I sent out highlight videos. My next
step was a phone call with the coach.
After talking with the coach I scheduled
a campus visit. While walking around
the campus I knew Ferrum was the
right fit. After I was accepted into the
school, I verbally committed,” senior
Madison Cruz said.
Cruz plays for the women’s varsity
soccer team. She is committed to go
to Ferrum College, which is an NCAA
Division III school located in Ferrum,
“I am most looking forward to competing
at the next level and playing
against former teammates. I also am
looking forward to continuing the progress
I have made as a person both on
and off the field,” Cruz said.
These seniors have a bright future
ahead of them and, and we all wish
them the best of luck throughout the
rest of their academic and athletic
Danny Sailsbury, a three-sport athlete, commits to Marymount
Prince Agyeman, a varsity football player, commits to Virginia
Madison Cruz, a varsity soccer player, commits to Ferrum College.
Baseball team prepares for season opener
BY NAREG BOGHOSIAN
On April 28, Atoms baseball will
finally return as the boys suit up for
their first matchup against Woodson.
It is safe to say that this upcoming
game is long awaited as a lengthy preseason
had taken place between February
to March along with a number of
In addition, practice for the season
opener was aided with many other practices
through the format of green days,
which have taken place throughout the
Since the school year began, the
baseball team participated in a short
season beginning in August under the
team name: Annandale Isotopes.
The brief period for tryouts in early
April, greatly helped coaches to solidify
thir rosters and make choices as to
where they should place incoming freshmen
and new players.
Overall, baseball has a total of 12
regular season games before the District
Quarterfinals on June 5. The entire
regular season will span just under a
month for those 12 scheduled games.
Changes in mask rules during games
have not been further implemented
despite the increase of a vaccinated population,
especially within the Annandale
Furthermore, social distancing rules
will still apply to athletes within competition.
BY NAREG BOGHOSIAN
Following the conclusion of the
cross-country season with its Occoquan
Regional Championship meet on April
15, many athletes immediately entered
the period of spring sports through their
participation in spring track.
However, this upcoming track season
will be a number of students’ first
time running since the winter sports
The boys and girls track teams are
scheduled to participate in their first
meet of the season, hosted by Annandale
on Mon., April 26 at 5 p.m. against
Hayfield Secondary School.
This first meet will be quite unique
for the track teams participating due to
the rare occasion that Annandale will be
hosting the meet.
Meets tend to be hosted by schools
containing bleachers around a track in
order to provide a proper capacity needed
for athletes and coaches to set up.
Since Annandale does not have bleachers
surrounding its track, the Atoms
have not hosted a track meet in recent
“I believe the meet will go very well
for us since we are running on our home
track for the first time ever,” senior distance
runner Bennett Stenberg said.
Additionally, hayfield has announced
the poor condition of their field lights,
prompting the competition to instead be
hosted by the Atoms.
“It will be interesting because I have
never experienced a meet at Annandale.
The sprinting team is in decent
Varsity player T.J. Hutnan practices his fielding during preseason training.
“Basically, wearing a mask is a strict
rule to keep the team and the community
safe. The Isotopes’ season in the fall
was a lot more laid back because we did
not really know the effects of COVID
well,” senior and varsity fielder T.J.
There are other positive effects of the
season being pushed back besides the
extra time used for more practices and
scrimmages to create a more prepared
Since the season has been made
shorter under the VHSL season schedule,
varsity coach Christopher Bagot
has emphasized the importance of productive
practice between games during
the regular season.
Most of these games during the regular
season are only a few days apart, so
a proper recovery between games will be
As for the varsity squad, all players
are either juniors or seniors, meaning
that the team has multiple years of
experience on the field with each other.
Coach Bagot has seen this and is
excited for the success that the team will
have this short season.
“I am excited for the season, this will
be the most talented team I have been
the head coach of in my five years,”
Freshman Colin McGee, a player on
the junior varsity team, has expressed
his excitement for this upcoming season,
Track team hopes for a successful season
shape, our strongest race will probably
be our 4x400 or other relays” sophomore
sprinter Miles Lanham said.
Unfortunately, there are only four
regular season meets scheduled for
the Atoms including the opening meet
at Hayfield, which will serve as senior
night for Atoms track and field.
“I feel upset since it is my last year
being a high school athlete, but I’ve had
so much fun over the last few years
being with the team,” senior distance
runner Nick Salazar said.
Since the departure and retirement
of boys cross-country coach Dave Ciccarelli,
Coach Ryan Willis will continue
his role as head coach for distance track
in addition to his coaching responsibilities
Coach Phil Harris has been a track
coach at Annandale for over twenty
years. He coaches the girls distance
team and the sprinting team along with
coach Julian Scarbrough.
“Our team consists of mainly underclassmen
for both boys and girls track,
working extremely hard. The number
of athletes are down due to COVID and
virtual learning, but our relay teams
should be in the top 3 of the conference
for both boys and girls,” Harris said.
Although the roster numbers are
slightly down this year, there is still a
lot of hope for success in every event
both on the track and in the field events.
“We have the returning conference
and regional champion in shot and disc.
We expect the same performance this
year. Due to all the challenges we have
experienced this year, I am excited to
have a team of motivated athletes that
will give it their all,” Harris said.
Now I’m getting
a chance to
hang out with
players I have
my freshman year as well as
assist with the improvement
of new players on the team.”
Varsity distance runner Mousa Ayoub runs the 4x800 race during the regional
championship meet at West Springfield during the winter season this year.
which will be his second with the atoms
this school year.
“We are grateful for the season we
have, but a shorter season impacts
pitchers and hitters because they have
less time to get a normal amount of
reps in compared to a regular season.”
Along with the varsity team, the
junior varsity team is hopeful for a successful
season as it has stood strong
throughout many stages of preparation.
“We have lots of potential this year
with a powerful roster, and with our
strong mentality, we are looking to do
some damage,” McGee said
Since this season is so short, coach
Bagot has asserted a strong mentality to
play as well as possible during the shortened
“It will turn the high school baseball
season into a real sprint to the finish.
We are going to focus on what we can do
now and try to stay in the moment...we
can’t look ahead or behind,” Bagot said.
Considering his experienced team,
Bagot envisions what constitutes a successful
season this year.
“This year, we are hoping the team
gives out beatings on our way to a district
championship. We had the best
off season we ever had, we are going to
keep our minds on what we can control
now and have a season filled with great
experiences,” said Bagot.
4-5 loss vs Park View on 4/22
0-9 loss vs West Potomac on 4/23
6-3 Win vs Park View on 4/21
Vs. TC Williams on 4/27 @ AHS
Vs. TJ on 4/27 @TJHS
Vs. West Potomac on 4/30 @WPHS
Vs. TJ on 4/27 @AHS
Vs. West Potomac on 4/30 @AHS
Vs. Justice on 4/26 @JHS
Vs. TJ on 4/28 @AHS
Vs. Justice on 4/26 @AHS
Vs. TJ on 4/28 @TJHS
Vs. Woodson on 4/28 @ WHS
Vs. Chantilly on 4/30 @AHS
Vs. Washington Lee on 4/27 @WLHS
Vs. Hernond on 4/30 @AHS
Wed., April 28, 2021
AHS students celebrate Ramadan
BY UYEN HUYNH
Many Muslim students at AHS
are currently celebrating the month of
So far, Ramadan is going well for a
lot of these students.
“My Ramadan is going great! Even
though it’s very different this year, I’m
trying to make the most of my time,”
senior Anjum Ashraf said
“My Ramadan is going great! Since
I don’t have to physically go to school, I
get more sleep than I would if I had to go
to school,” senior Novera Hasnat said.
“I also have more time to spend reading
the Quran or praying and preparing for
Iftar with my family.”
This year, Ramadan began at
sundown on April 12th and will end at
sundown on May 12th.
“I really like Ramadan because it
really distinguishes a part of the year
from the rest and generally it feels more
calm,” senior Mousa Ayoub said.
Eid al-Fitr, a day that marks the end
of the month-long fasting for Ramadan
with a feast, will take place the following
Ramadan is celebrated to mark
the time when Allah, the Islam God,
revealed the first verses of the Quran,
Islam’s holy book, to the Prophet
One very well known tradition of
Ramadan is fasting from sunrise to
sundown of each day of the month.
“It is a great lesson for self-discipline
as we have to refrain ourselves from
eating and drinking anything,” Hasnat
However, aside from fasting, there
are many other wonderful traditions.
Ramadan offers an opportunity
for students to spend time with their
family, friends, and people from the
“I have a really big family, so one of
our main traditions is to stay over at
Senior Anjum Ashraf breaks her fast with her little sister during iftar with a banana smoothie and pasta.
our cousins’ houses during Ramadan,”
Ashraf said. “When we’re together, we
stay up until suhoor (the meeting before
fasting) and just spend time with each
Students are also able to enjoy
delicious cultural foods during iftar, the
time after sunset when people can break
their fast and eat.
“We have some certain foods that we
always eat during Iftar, such as peyaju
(blended lentil, onions, and sliced pepper
mixed together and fried), tandoori
chicken, and haleem (a very flavorful
soup including meat and a mixture of
various lentils),” Hasnat said.
Another tradition that many
students practice is praying.
“This month pushes me to pray more
and try to be closer to Allah,” Hasnat
said. “It helps me to learn patience,
and also purifies our souls as we have
to restrain from doing anything that is
Due to the pandemic, a number of
the traditions that students do in other
years are put on hold.
“My favorite Ramadan tradition is
having iftar at our local Mosque. It’s
always really fun to set everything up
with friends and break our fasts with
the community,” Ashraf said. “Of course,
we can’t partake in that tradition this
year because of COVID.”
“Sometimes we would buy Iftar from
outside, which we have stopped doing
[due to the pandemic],” Hasnat said.
For some students, however, the
pandemic hasn’t changed much for
them in terms of celebrating.
“I don’t really feel like the pandemic
has changed Ramadan much other than
having to move around less,” Ayoub
However, regardless of the pandemic
or not, it won’t stop students from fully
enjoying their Ramadan.
Around the world
Kenya believes that there is a
Covid-19 “vaccine apartheid”
happening. This all started
when London issued a travel
ban on east African nations.
Kenya saw this as a matter
of discrimination. They feel
like the vaccine-producing
countries are being possessive
and discriminating, while
practicing vaccine nationalism.
The Japanese government
has recently announced that it
will begin releasing 1 million
metric tons of radioactive
water that comes from its
wrecked Fukushima nuclear
plant into the Pacific Ocean.
This announcement has
raised much concern from
fishermen and neighboring
countries. The prime minister
believes that disposing this
water is important in order
to decommission the nuclear
In Montreal, people are
protesting the recent
curfew put in place after a
huge increase in cases was
seen from the reopening
and capacity increases of
businesses. The curfew begins
at 8 p.m. every night. The
protesters are gathering to
protest against the curfew and
for more freedoms.
Similar to any ethnic celebration
event, during Ramadan, cooking
cultural foods is a tradition that
every household does. Some of the
many traditional dishes that people
like to cook are fattoush salads,
beguni (slices eggplants dipped
in gram flour or besan and fried),
and pide bread. The many dishes
that are cooked during the day are
eaten at Iftar.
Iftar is the meal eaten after sunset
to break one’s fast and to replenish
energy. During Ramadan, many
people will have iftar parties where
they invite friends and family to
come enjoy Iftar with them. These
parties offer an opportunity for
everyone to socialize and enjoy
each other’s company. People are
also able to enjoy delicious foods at
these parties too.
Mosques are always packed full
during the month of Ramadan.
After sunset, many people from the
community will gather in mosque
and break their fast together over
a meal. Many also go there to
pray at night. Additional prayers,
called Taraweeh, are also offered at
mosque at night. Some people go to
mosque as frequent as daily during
Doing good deeds
to help others
During Ramadan, it is a common
tradition for people to do good
deeds. Some good deeds that
people do to help others are paying
zakat (donating to charities),
volunteering their time, sharing
food with others for Iftar, and
paying visit to the sick or lonely.
During this month, some believe
that the rewards for good deeds are
Breaking fast by
A tradition that many Muslims do
during every day of Ramadan is
they will break their fast by eating
one or three dates. The reason for
this is the prophet Mohammad
used to break his fasts with dates
too, so Muslims do this to follow his
sunnah (the ways of the prophet).
If someone does not have any dates
to break their fast with, they would
instead drink water.
Immigrant stories: coming to America
Junior Uyen Huynh emigrates from Vietnam to the United States
BY UYEN HUYNH
I immigrated to the United States
with my parents in 2008.
I was born in Vietnam and lived there
for about five years before we moved here.
One of the reasons why my parents
decided to immigrate was to be closer to
My grandparents and uncles on my
mom’s side had immigrated to the U.S.
right after the Vietnam War.
However, my mom couldn’t immigrate
with them due to document issues, so she
stayed in Vietnam by herself.
After she married my dad and had me,
she wanted to move to Virginia so that
she could see her parents and brothers
Even though I got to come live near
my mom’s side of the family, it meant
that I had to leave my dad’s side of the
family behind since they were still in
I was devastated because I knew I
wouldn’t be able to see them every day
like I used to do.
I still remember he details of the day I
left Vietnam very clearly.
My grandparents and aunts on my
dad’s side came with us to the airport to
see us off.
I remember seeing my grandma being
very sad as she said her good-byes to me.
At that time, I didn’t get why she was
sad since I was too little to understand
that we would be permanently leaving
I thought we were just taking a trip to
visit other family.
When I got off the plane in the U.S., I
remember being super happy to see my
I was also excited because I was
witnessing a new country for the first
We immigrated during winter, so the
day we arrived I was able to see snow for
the first time.
I started school soon after we arrived.
I didn’t know a single word of English,
so navigating through preschool was a
However, since I was still very young,
I was able to pick up the language super
I also struggled with getting use to the
new foods and lifestyle in America.
I was so used to eating Vietnamese
foods that I didn’t want any American
My first year in America wasn’t the
greatest because I got very homesick and
missed my old life.
In Vietnam, people are very social and
would leave their homes to walk to the
markets or to the parks every day, and
since I couldn’t do that here, I felt very
The challenges of adjusting also made
me want to go back to Vietnam even
However, after the first year, I got a
little more used to things so the feelings of
wanting to go home went away.
Since then, I have fully adapted to life
here in the U.S. and I love it.
I now love the food and it feels like
I have made many new friends who I
enjoy hanging out with.
At school, I participate in many
extracurricular activities, such as Green
Atoms, Just World, National Honor
Society, and more.
Even though I’m not begging my
parents to move back to Vietnam
anymore, I still do get homesick from time
Ever since I immigrated, I haven’t
been back to visit once, which is really
I plan on taking a trip there the
summer after I graduate to visit family
Junior Uyen Huynh (left) spends the evening in Washington D.C.
with her friends.
12 ENTERTAINMENT Wed., April 28, 2021
BROCKHAMPTON drops another solid album
NEW LIGHT, NEW
the band once again
BY DESMOND FITZGERALD
The self-proclaimed “best boyband
since One Direction” is back once again.
After dropping their nearly perfect
Saturation trilogy over six months in
2017, I, and many others, instantly fell
in love with the group’s raw, cohesive
energy, witty lines, and diverse, layered
From mid-paced, window-rattling
bangers like “Heat” and “Boogie” to
sweeter, RnB cuts like “Bleach”, all
the way to straight-up alt/indie-rock
ballads like “Summer” and “Waste”,
every song is well written, wellperformed,
and unique. Trying to cover
these albums would take me all day,
but they are a must-listen for every
The next couple of years, however,
would prove more challenging for
the collective. Amidst the dramatic
exit of one of the group’s key
members, Ameer Vann, as well
as mounting personal issues, and
sudden fame, BROCKHAMPTON
dropped Iridescence a pretty solid,
if inconsistent, record. Iridescence
feels like two separate albums, with
a glitchy, angry, and rawer sound on
its harder tracks like “New Orleans”
and “Jouvert”, and a soft, depressed,
poppier side on tracks like “San
Marcos” and “Tonya”. This album was
off the wall, and looked how the group’s
headspace at the time must have been;
confusing, dark, and paranoid.
While Iridescence is their weakest
album, in my opinion, it’s still more
than decent, and extremely interesting.
2019’s Ginger was the group’s
softest and most consistent album
to date. Most tracks have a somber,
reflective tone, and a great deal of this
album deals in the poppier sounds
BROCKHAMPTON has always
Aside from a few bangers like “Boy
Bye” and “St. Percy”, Ginger is a sad,
moody, and soberingly reflective album,
that houses everything from the tearjerking
Ameer expose on “Dearly
Departed”, to the danceable grooves
and earworm chorus on “Sugar”
Ginger is great, especially if
depressing pop and RnB music is your
Finally, we land at the longanticipated
Roadrunner; New Light,
New Machine, which feels like it’s
bringing a ‘new light’ to the boyband’s
Roadrunner feels like a brand new
chapter for the band, one without the
drama of their previous two records,
and one where they embrace new,
The opening track/ lead single
“Buzzcut” presented electrifying
energy, with blistering production, a
great guest verse from Danny Brown,
and a soulful ending. “Buzzcut” seems
to me like an extension of the sounds
of Iridescence, only with less awkward
songwriting, production, and deliveries.
This track was an amazing teaser and
an even better opener.“Buzzcut” does a
great job of starting this record off with
a loud bang.
The following “Chain On” is a
rapid change of pace, with a dusty,
vintage instrumental, tons of reverb, a
summary bassline, and a surprisingly
lowkey and infectious chorus.
This track features a solid
verse from underground legend
JPEGMAFIA, but the real stunner
is Dom Mclennons eye-opening
final verse, which is impressively
entertaining and socially conscious.
This record sees
BROCKHAMPTON diving into some
of the grimiest sounds they ever have,
with plenty of nods to the worlds
of Wu-Tang, Three Six Mafia, and
The track “Bankroll” is one of the
group’s most direct and satisfying
bangers to date, with a moody, traplaced
instrumental, amazing verses
from A$AP Ferg and Merlyn, and an
extremely catchy chorus featuring
The song “Windows” is one
of many that features the artist
Sogonesoflexy, who fits effortlessly into
the BROCKHAMPTON roster, stands
at over six minutes in length, features
every member, and is supremely dark.
The Southern hip-hop flare the
group gave this song is complimented
perfectly by the raw verses brought by
every member here, and this track feels
like one from Saturation II with a more
The songs “The Light” and “Don’t
Shoot Up the Party” are very quickly
becoming some of my favorite tracks
in the group’s entire discography, with
the former being hard-hitting, guitarlaced,
confessional opus in the style of a
classic 90’s boom-bap banger.
Joba and Kevin bring some of the
hardest, most personal, and saddest
lines of the entire album on this track,
with Joba dealing with his father’s
suicide, and Kevin reflecting on his
family and homosexuality.
The bridge on this song gives me
chills, with Jobas soaring, haunting,
almost God-like vocals creeping in on
top of an eerie synth line.
This short bridge is one of the best
moments on the record with interesting
production choices, tight drum fills, and
an incredible vocal presence.
“Don’t Shoot Up the Party” is by
far the darkest moment on the record,
with a stark, subtle intro, accompanied
by an unapologetic verse that quickly
evolves into an undeniably catchy
chorus, full of raging, messy synths,
danceable one-two drums, and shouted,
pleading vocals from Kevin, soaked in
All of this, along with an amazing
verse from Matt and disturbing outro,
make this track an instant classic.
The track “When I Ball” features
production from The Neptunes, and is
a fairly straightforward and sweet hip
hop track about childhood dreams and
The hook is sweet and enjoyable,
and overall this track is pretty solid,
just not necessarily one of the standouts
for me. While the production is pretty
and the verses are solid, this track is
just missing something for me.
“What’s The Occasion” is a
very simple track with a gorgeous,
harrowing chorus from Joba, a gently
plucked guitar, and an arena-sized
While being pretty self-explanatory,
the execution of this song is amazing,
and it reminded me a lot of “Cash” off of
Saturation, just far more somber.
Though there are very few missteps
on Roadrunner, the album does
somewhat falter when it comes to its
While good as a single, I rarely find
myself returning to the track “Count
On Me”. With its peppy guitar licks,
feel-good attitude, lovesick lyrics, and
somewhat saccharine Ryan Beatty
chorus, this track should have all of the
qualities to make another mega-hit like
“Bleach” or “Sugar”, but the cohesion
and focused verses are just not there to
make this song as good as those two.
While no song on this album is bad,
this s one of the weaker ones.
The tracks “Old News” and “I’ll Take
You On” are both in a similar camp
as“Count On Me”..
While I appreciate the verses and
production on “Old News”, Baird’s’
overly processed chorus, riddled with
generic lyrics and a boring melody,
is the only moment on the album I
would call legitimately bad. “I’ll Take
You On” is a romantic, danceable
piece of soulful pop music, complete
with a Charlie Wilson feature.
While I love the 90’s boy band-
Esque chorus and the break-beat
rhythms on this song, Charlie Wilson
feels more like an afterthought, and
the verses could have used some work.
Roadrunners’ final leg is among its
strongest. The stunning “Dear Lord”
is a gorgeous interlude that features
tight harmonies, gorgeous singing,
and a faint piano towards the end.
The track feels equally Frank
Ocean and gospel choir and does a
great job at setting the tone for the
finisher, ‘“The Light Pt.II”.
This track is a deeply emotional
dive into the issues that Kevin and
Joba discussed on “The Light” but is
much more somber.
The ominous, whispered repetition
of “The light is worth the wait, why
did you do it?” hits like an emotional
powerhouse, especially in the context
of Joba’s father’s suicide. “The Light
Pt. II” is an extremely tight ending
that closes the album perfectly.
While Roadrunner; New Light,
New Machine is not my favorite
BROCKHAMPTON album to date,
it’s up there.
Make no mistake, this is an
insanely impressive return to form
for the group, and while some tracks
are weaker than others, this album is
If you’re even a little bit interested
in alternative hip hop, pop, or RnB,
do not let this album, or anything
BROCKHAMPTON does, fly under
New Netflix show, Shadow and Bone, impresses
BY RYM BENOUNA
The Shadow and Bone series
premiered on Netflix on Friday, April
23, and released eight episodes of the
book trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.
The story follows Alina StarKov who
is a soldier from Ravka who discovers
that she is a Sun Summoner and can
She tries to use her ability to
overpower the Fold which is smokey
darkness that borders Ravka and
contains mystical creatures known as
There were three or four different
storylines throughout the series and
from the beginning, it started fastpaced
and did not explain what was
This made it confusing to follow
what was going on for the first few
episodes especially for viewers who are
unfamiliar with the book series.
Throughout the series we don’t get
much of a backstory about the Grisha
verse besides a few flashbacks scenes,
so, I would recommend getting a basic
understanding of the story before
It was a little bit difficult to
continue watching in the beginning
but, after a few episodes, I was hooked.
Because multiple things were going
on such as threats, interrogation, and
blackmailing, I was intrigued and didn’t
get bored of watching.
Although I am not a big fan of
fantasy and magic in tv shows, this
series exceeded my expectations and
left me wanting more.
Intense music was played
throughout almost the entire series
which made it more dramatic and
caused angst. This added a lot to the
film and made me more anxious as I
The show did have a lot of fighting
scenes which were enjoyable to watch
but was graphic and some of the sound
effects were a bit excessive which made
the fighting scenes seem unrealistic.
The show is similar to the book
series with only a few changes here
and there. One of the many admirable
things about it was that even though
there were still a lot of characters.
They were all widely diverse
and were inclusive in race, gender,
sexuality, and religion.
The sets and costumes were
captivating and added so much to
the story especially because the
cinematography wasn’t like any other
series on Netflix that I had seen before.
What made the show more enjoyable
was watching the relationship progress
between Inej, Jesper, and Kaz as they
continued their sarcastic and witty
banter throughout the multiple heists
Their roles were perfectly cast as
they were just as I had imagined them
The friendships that were built as
the story progressed were no doubt
one of the most alluring parts of the
series. Seeing Mattias and Nina turn
from enemies to close friends and
then watching their betrayal was
enticing especially because of how their
relationship left off.
I think the casting was perfect,
especially Jessie Mei Lei(Alina Starkov)
and Ben Barnes because they made the
characters come to life and made me
feel attached to the story as a whole.
Ben Barnes who played the
Darkling captured the essence of being
the villain and made the viewers loathe
While we also got to see some great
character development from the main
character as she was a soft-spoken,
gullible young girl and became a fierce,
and powerful character towards
the end who ended up saving many
There were only eight episodes and
the season ended with a cliffhanger,
so I was left sitting on the edge of my
seat anticipating what was going to
happen next. I am hoping that we will
get to see another season sometime
I highly recommend watching this
show if you enjoy fantasy or young
adult films. If you are just looking for
a show to binge on Netflix, then this is
also the show for you.
is a smash hit
BY ANNIE GHAFFARI AND DES-
Taylor Swift is not unfamiliar with
the music industry. Recently she just
released a re-recorded version of her
old album ‘Fearless’, because Scooter
Braun, who is also currently Justin
Bieber’s manager, wouldn’t let her use
She signed a contract at 15 that
made a deal with Scott Borchetta’s
record label company that gave them
ownership of her music.
Borchetta sold the company to
Scooter Braun, which gave Scooter
Braun ownership of Swift’s recordings.
She had to go through court to win
back ownership of her older albums,
from 2006’s Taylor Swift to 2017’s Reputation
and she has to re-record them
in her version now.
Many Swifties are guessing that
1989 will be the next album to get rerecorded,
but it probably won’t be anytime
Along with releasing Fearless (Taylor’s
Version), in April 2021, she also
added a few unheard tracks on the
album, such as ‘You All Over Me, ‘Mr.
Perfectly Fine’, ‘That’s When’, and ‘We
The album contains 26 tracks, and
here are some must listen to tracks off
the rerecorded album.
In February we were given the classic
hit, “Love Story”. I loved this version!
It’s amazing, and you can blast it
in your car with friends, or in your room
when you’re getting ready.
“Love Story” is a super fun, up-tempo
Country pop hybrid, full of Taylor’s
usual charm. This mega-hit sounds
even better with its brand new recording.
“White Horse (Taylors version)”, is
a stunning ‘getting over them’ song. It
just makes you feel the emotions that
Taylor Swift was meaning to put out
Lyrics like “I’m not a princess, this
ain’t a fairytale” .“I was a dreamer
before you went and let me down” really
illustrate the message of this song.
“You Belong with Me (Taylors version)”
is another one of those songs I’d
blast in the car with my friends, or in
my room, when I relate to the lyrics.
With super sweet vocal passages
and a catchy hook, it’s no wonder why
this song was a radio smash.
“Breathe (Taylors version)” makes
me miss someone I don’t even know by
using heart-breaking lyrics and a gentle
The chorus and verses are simple
but effective, and Colbie Caillat’s parts
“Tell me Why (Taylors version)”
explains the feeling of finally seeing
someone for who they truly are, and not
being blinded because of liking them
anymore, themes that are echoed on the
“Forever and Always (Taylors version)”
is a classic story about loving
someone, them giving you expectations,
then them leaving you heartbroken.
This song is laced with peppy guitars
and layered percussion, this song feels
Later in the tracklist, we are treated
to a wildly different version using
a piano, where Taylor takes the track
much slower and more seriously. Both
are amazing for entirely different reasons.
“Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version)”
is an anthem for unrequited
love. Gently twanging guitars, one-two
drums, and a spacey atmosphere, this
track is a real standout.
This heartbreaking story sees Taylor
get rejected, only for the man who
rejects her to go on and have a great
love life while Taylor struggles, which
ties up very well with the following
“Don’t You (Taylor’s Version).”
Seeing someone you had a relationship
with in the past, but they’ve moved
on, and you still love them. “Don’t you
say you’ve missed me when you don’t
want me again”?
Many fans are hyped about the
bonus tracks, and almost everyone
aware of the situation between Taylor
and her old record label is making
sure to only listen to the ‘Taylor’s Version’
Overall, I’d say this was a really
good album and the bonus tracks pulled
the album together and added something
The way Taylor Swift handled her
situation was also really mature and I
would recommend listening to Fearless